Cutting thick nails

    Auteur: Podiatre Montreal

    Toenails that are too thick are a problem in podiatry. Indeed, many people suffer from this problem, often resulting in difficulty walking and foot pain, often related to nail fungus or ingrown toenails. However, there are many solutions to treat these often unknown problems, but that a health professional can easily advise you. To remedy these difficulties, do not hesitate to consult the foot clinic and make an appointment with our doctor who will be able to make a precise diagnosis and propose an adapted treatment.

    How to prevent pain caused by thick nails

    There are many causes of foot pain, but among the most common are nail fungus. These consist of an infestation of fungus developing under the toenails. When this condition appears, it manifests itself in several ways, but the main symptoms are thick and sometimes yellowish toenails.

    Nevertheless, fungus is not the only possible cause of thickened toenails. Indeed, acute and chronic trauma can also lead to this type of condition, as well as diabetes, psoriasis and some rarer diseases such as Darier’s disease.

    Only the intervention of a health care professional can provide the appropriate diagnosis and thus define the exact cause of this foot pain.

    To prevent the appearance of this type of discomfort, it is essential to maintain good foot hygiene to avoid the development of fungal infections.

    For that it is advisable to wash your feet correctly without forgetting to pass between the toes, to dry them carefully and to wear clean and dry socks.

    Always in the register of hygiene, it is preferable to wear shoes or sandals in shared public places such as the swimming pool. Wearing proper footwear is also an important point in preventing this type of problem, as tight shoes can compress the nails and cause a lot of long-term problems, so it is important to wear comfortable shoes. Finally, it is essential to keep your toenails clean and short and not to lend the nail clippers you use.

    Consequences and problems of thick nails

    Thick toenails can cause many problems and complications, so it is important to be concerned about them as soon as you notice a change in the thickness of your nails, as well as their color or appearance, which can be a sign of fungal infections, i.e. the development of fungus under the nails. Indeed, nail fungus causes significant changes in the nails and if the nails become too thick to cut, their growth can quickly lead to other problems such as ingrown nails that can be very painful. Similarly, if the condition causing this thickening requires prompt treatment to avoid other complications such as loss of the nail, the spread of a bacterial infection, or subungual ulcers or abscesses. These consequences can be much more serious than the simple thickening identified at the beginning and can also have an impact on daily life with foot pain and difficulty walking.

    How to treat and cut thick nails

    Today there are many solutions to treat and cut thick nails before reaching the extreme solution of surgery. The use of certain easy-to-find products, such as vinegar and certain essential oils, can be recommended at the very beginning of fungus to try to stop the development of fungus. However, if fungus has set in and your toenails have already radically changed in appearance, it is preferable to make an appointment with a health professional such as our doctors for a quick treatment. In fact, the Podiatrist will be the most qualified professional to make a diagnosis. He will perform a clinical examination to confirm the diagnosis of fungus and will tell you how to treat it. In addition, he will be able to advise you on appropriate footwear to relieve pain and prescribe antifungal medication (tablets, cream or varnish) that is an effective treatment.

    In addition to the use of these, you will have to manage to cut your thickened nails safely to avoid complications such as ingrown toenails. To do this, you will first need to soften your nails. For this purpose, foot bath is a must, so you will have to immerse your feet in hot water until your nails regain the flexibility necessary for their cut. For this, different tools can be used such as nail clippers, nail clippers as well as nail files. These are perfectly adapted for a regular maintenance of toenails, but can be insufficient when the nails have really thickened. In this case, the use of a sander indicated by a professional may be preferable, who will be able to explain how to cut the toenails. Once the footbath is done, shorten the nail and if you are equipped with a sander sharpen the toe nail, this can be repeated several days in a row if your nails are particularly thick, which can happen if you suffer from a fungus of the big toe. Once the nails have been cut, you can file them to ensure regrowth without risk of ingrown toenails developing.

    Finally, you will have to wash your feet and wipe them carefully with a clean towel. You can also put an antifungal varnish on the infected nails to accentuate the treatment and obtain a beautiful finish that will reduce the rough appearance that thickened nails often have. Your Podiatrist can recommend a suitable nail polish. Our doctors, for example, generally propose an antifungal nail polish combining tea tree essential oil and garlic extracts, which is particularly effective against fungal infections.

    Instructions for cutting thickened nails: a six-step plan

    • 1. Use the right tools. This is essential, because the right tools will simplify the refining of even the thickest nails.
    • 2. Soak your toes in warm water for five to ten minutes. This will help soften the nails and make it easier to cut thickened nails.
    • 3. Refine the top of the nail of the big toe
    • 4. Refine the sides of the big toe nail
    • 5. Refine the smallest toenails
    • 6. Shorten the nail

    Healthy feet allow for regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. If you have a nail problem that has not been solved by following the suggestions above, make an appointment and come see us at our clinic in Montreal. We can offer you conservative treatment options that will help relieve your pain.


    To make an appointment, call 514 931-6111 or visit

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      Podiatre Montréal
      1826 Sherbrooke O,
      Montreal, QC H3H 1E4