Why Do Toenails Get Thicker While We Age? Ask a Charlotte University Foot Surgeon

April 1, 2017

Why Toe Nails Get Thicker With Age?

As I have gotten older, I have seen certain changes in my nails which have prompted me to see a foot doctor near me.

Dr. Whitman, a Harrisburg NC podiatrist, can tell you that the condition of fingernails and toenails are tell-tale signs of a person’s health but many people don’t know that nails, especially toe nails, can undergo a transformation as they age.

The transformation can be mild or extreme, prompting me to visit a foot specialist in Harrisburg.

One such transformation is the thickening of the toe nails. There are a few different reasons that the nails thicken as we age. We could suffer from one of these reasons or a combination of them.

1. Cells Don’t Renew Themselves As Often As They Used To

As we age, our cell renewal rate slows down. For nails, this means that they may not grow as rapidly as they would when we were younger. Toe nails can slow their growth rate by about 30% by the age of 85. This slow growth rate means that we won’t be clipping our nails as often and this can lead to a condition known as onychocytes. This condition is characterized by a building up of the dead nail cells which we would otherwise clip away as our nails grow. This build up is a direct cause of the thickening of the nails.

2. Fungus Can Cause Nails To Thicken

Onychomychosis is a medical/scientific term for a nail fungus. Nail fungus can happen to anyone at any age, but elderly people are especially susceptible to nail fungus because certain medical conditions or diseases can create an optimal breeding ground for the fungus. For example, circulatory problems and diabetes are two conditions that can affect the feet enough to allow fungus to grow. As fungus grows, it cause the nails to thicken. If you believe you have foot fungus, it is important to see a foot specialist in Harrisburg or one in your local town. If you suffer from any type of disease, pay special attention to your feet to prevent fungus from growing.

Find a Good Foot Doctor 

During my search for a foot doctor near me, I found that Ryan Foot & Ankle Clinic has some of the best Harrisburg podiatrists with offices all over the Charlotte area. Not all podiatrists are the same, so make sure you do some research in order to choose the best doctor for you. Once you have, call and request a consultation in order to make sure you keep the healthiest feet possible as you age.

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