Thick toenails are an annoying ailment, although in most cases it is treatable. It is important to let your doctor know about them as soon as possible as they can help more completely the earlier you tell them. Eleven percent of North America is infected with a treatable toenail fungus that causes thick toenails. The fungus is contagious, so be sure to get treatment quickly.

Toenail Fungus

Onychomycosis, more commonly known as toenail fungus, is one of the most common causes of thick toe nails. According to, about 11 percent of North America is infected with it. It is fairly easy to contract the disease. Any place where people commonly walk barefoot is a potential danger zone. Your toes can be infected by wearing other people’s shoes or sharing socks and towels. The first sign of infection is brown or white spots on the nails. The fungus can result in the thickening of the nails, discoloration and in severe cases deformation, brittleness and even the loss of the nail. Once infected, the fungus is resistant to treatment which can be quite pricey although there are many oral treatments that have been proven to be effective.


Often, thick toenails are simply caused by genetics. There isn’t a whole lot you can do if this is the cause. An obvious sign that thick toenails are caused by genetics is that your parents have thick toenails.

Ingrown Toenails

Having thick nails can increase the likelihood of having ingrown toenails. An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail begins to grow into the skin. Thick toenails tend to collide with the front of the toe. Other causes of ingrown toenails are cutting your toenails too short, rounding the edges of the nail and wearing ill-fitting shoes.