Understanding Toenail Issues: Ugly Toenails, Thick Nails, Fungal Infections, and More

Toenail problems can be more than just a cosmetic concern—they can indicate underlying health issues and cause significant discomfort. At Footprint Health and Wellness Centre in Barrie, Ontario, we specialize in diagnosing and treating a variety of toenail conditions. In this blog, we’ll explore common toenail problems, their causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Ugly Toenails

Causes: Ugly toenails can be a result of trauma, fungal infections, poor hygiene, or underlying health conditions like psoriasis. Wearing tight shoes or improperly trimming your nails can also contribute to their unsightly appearance.


  • Discoloration (yellow, brown, or white)
  • Irregular shape or texture
  • Thickening or brittleness
  • Cracking or splitting


  • Proper Nail Care: Trim your nails straight across and avoid cutting them too short. Clean them regularly.
  • Moisturizing: Use a moisturizing cream to keep the nails and surrounding skin hydrated.
  • Footwear: Wear shoes that fit well and provide adequate room for your toes.
  • Consult a Professional: If you’re unsure of the cause, seek advice from a chiropodist for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment.

Thick Toenails

Causes: Thick toenails can be caused by fungal infections, trauma, psoriasis, or aging. Repeated pressure from shoes or injuries can also lead to thickened nails.


  • Nails that are difficult to cut
  • Discoloration (yellow or brown)
  • Pain or discomfort when wearing shoes
  • Crumbling or flaking edges



  • Nail Trimming: Regularly trim your nails with a good quality nail clipper.
  • Soaking: Soak your feet in warm water to soften the nails before trimming.
  • File Down: Use a nail file to smooth and reduce the thickness of the nails.
  • Medical Treatment: For underlying conditions like fungal infections or psoriasis, consult a chiropodist for targeted treatments such as antifungal medications or topical treatments.

Fungal Toenail Infections

Causes: Fungal toenail infections, or onychomycosis, are caused by various fungi that thrive in warm, moist environments. Common sources include communal showers, swimming pools, and wearing sweaty shoes for prolonged periods.


  • Yellow, white, or brown discoloration
  • Thickened or brittle nails
  • Distorted nail shape
  • Foul odor
  • Pain or discomfort


  • Topical Antifungals: Over-the-counter or prescription antifungal creams and ointments.
  • Oral Antifungals: For more severe infections, oral antifungal medications may be prescribed.
  • Nail Removal: In extreme cases, removal of the affected nail may be necessary.
  • Preventive Measures: Keep your feet dry, change socks regularly, and avoid walking barefoot in communal areas.

Infected Toenails

Causes: Infections can occur due to ingrown toenails, trauma, or untreated fungal infections. Bacteria can enter the skin around the nail, leading to redness, swelling, and pain.


  • Redness and swelling around the nail
  • Pain or throbbing
  • Pus or drainage
  • Warmth around the infected area



  • Soaking: Soak your foot in warm, soapy water to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Antibiotics: If the infection is bacterial, antibiotics may be prescribed.
  • Nail Care: Proper trimming techniques can prevent ingrown nails and subsequent infections.
  • Consult a Chiropodist: Seek professional treatment for severe infections or if the condition doesn’t improve.

Prevention Tips for Healthy Toenails

  1. Maintain Good Hygiene: Wash your feet regularly and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes.
  2. Proper Footwear: Wear shoes that fit well and allow your toes to move comfortably.
  3. Regular Trimming: Trim your toenails straight across and avoid cutting them too short.
  4. Avoid Walking Barefoot: Use flip-flops in communal showers and pool areas to prevent infections.
  5. Moisturize: Keep your nails and the surrounding skin hydrated with a good moisturizer.


At Footprint Health and Wellness Centre in Barrie, Ontario, we understand the impact that toenail problems can have on your daily life. Whether you’re dealing with ugly toenails, thick nails, fungal infections, or other toenail issues, our team of experienced chiropodists is here to help. We provide comprehensive assessments and personalized treatment plans to address the root cause of your toenail problems and restore your foot health.

Don’t let toenail issues affect your confidence and comfort. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards healthier, more attractive toenails.

Internal Links: