Thickened toenails are often a sign of trauma or poor circulation to the nail area. Senior citizens often experience thicker toenails as a side effect of aging. Whatever the root cause, thick toenails prove difficult to trim or cut. Rather than damage or split your toenails by trying to chip away at them with a nail clipper or manicure scissors, you can soften them in advance and make cutting them much more simple.

Things You'll Need

Pour at least 1 gallon of warm water into a bathtub, dishpan or deep basin.

Add 2-1/2 tbsp. of table salt for each gallon of warm water you have in the bathtub or container.

Soak your feet for 10 to 30 minutes until your toenails are sufficiently soft. The thicker the toenail, the longer you should soak it.

Remove your feet from the water and pat dry with a towel. Apply toenail softening cream to your toenails.

Cut your nails immediately, if necessary.


  • Toenail softening cream is available at many drug stores.