On Your Toes 10 Tips For Growing Healthy Toenails

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman: Strong, healthy toenails are a must for overall health and wellbeing. And all it takes to get clear, shiny toenails any podiatrist would be proud of is a few basic maintenance steps you can easily do at home.

1. Daily Cleansing

Bathing your feet once per day using a mild soap not only helps ward off pesky toenail fungus (onychomycosis) and bromodosis, the warm water can help stimulate circulation to your feet and toes, which helps toenails grow healthy and strong. Be sure to scrub your toenails with a foot brush while bathing and thoroughly dry each foot, including between the toes, afterward.

2. Moisturize

One of the easiest ways to keep your toenails in great shape is to practice great dermatology by moisturizing them on a daily basis. Using regular lotion on your feet helps keep the skin around each toenail soft and healthy, while using nail oils that contain quick-absorbing ingredients like jojoba oil keeps your toenails from becoming dry, cracked and brittle. 

3. Frequent Trimming

Inspect and trim your toenails with nail scissors or a quality pair of toenail clippers about once a month. It is very important that you trim your toenails properly — straight across, never in a curved shape — to help prevent ingrown toenails and bacterial and fungal infections. You should also never cut your toenails too short, as having a slight bit of nail at the end helps protect the toes from pressure and possible trauma. 

4. Filing 

Use a fine nail file or very gentle emery board to smooth out any rigid toenail edges, which can help prevent hangnails as well as rips and tears to the nail. 

5. Toenail Friendly Diet 

Both your fingernails and your toenails are made from a protein called keratin. You can help your body produce healthy amounts of the protein by eating a balanced diet filled with vitamin and nutrient-rich foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts and lean meats. You can also use vitamin or biotin supplements to help boost nail growth, but most doctors and podiatrists agree that eating a healthy diet is the best way to give your body the fuel it needs. 

6. Wearing Proper Shoes and Socks

Believe it or not, properly fitted shoes and socks can go a long way toward maintaining clear, shiny and healthy toenails. Socks that are too tight can restrict the blood circulation your nails need to grow strong, while shoes that don’t fit properly can lead to ingrown toenails, black toenails (subungual hematoma), corns, calluses, blisters and other foot issues that can potentially affect the way you walk and therefore put undue pressure on your toenails. Meanwhile, it’s smart to wear flip flops or other protective footwear when you’re in damp public places like gyms, pools and locker rooms to help ward off plantar warts and toenail fungus.

7. Occasional Massage

Whether you spring for a professional rub, receive help from your partner or do it yourself, occasional foot rubs (twice per month or more) help keep the circulation in your feet and toes strong. Good circulation gives your nails a rich blood supply, which helps them maintain a healthy light pink color with a smooth sheen.

8. Treat Yourself To Foot Soaks

It’s always a good idea to indulge in a foot soak every once in awhile. Footbaths are relaxing, help decrease stress and can do wonders for your toenails, as well. Soaking the nails helps loosen dirt and debris that may be lurking in the nail folds, lessens your chance of developing smelly feet and foot fungus infections, and can also be moisturizing if oils are added to the water. 

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9. Use Caution With Pedicures and Polish

Professional pedicures can leave your toenails vulnerable to toenail fungal infections, and nail techs often cut your cuticles and eponychium (the skin surrounding your nails), which can lead to inflammation and infection. Meanwhile, non-organic nail polish can leave your toenails stained yellow, and acetone nail polish remover can significantly dry out your nails, leading to unattractive peeling and cracking. Therefore, it’s best to use caution when treating your feet and toes to pedicures. Try opting for all-natural, organic pedicures and using nail polishes free from toxic ingredients like tolulene, dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde

10. Frequent Inspections

 If you follow the above steps, you will more than likely be much more aware of your toenails and their overall health condition than before you started, but it’s still a good idea to frequently inspect your toenails, which oftentimes are the first place serious health issues show their symptoms. Diseases like diabetes, psoriasis and onychomycosis (toenail fungus) show up on your nails via pits, marks, discoloration and ridges. Being aware of your nails and visiting a podiatrist at the first sign of trouble could save your health and potentially your life. 

— Update: 12-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article How to Achieve and Maintain Healthy Toenails from the website correcttoes.com for the keyword how to make toe nails healthier.

Summer is here! Time to fully embrace open-toed footwear. While this change is relieving and exciting for some, if you’ve battled thick or discolored nails this can be an unwelcome adjustment. If this is not a happy time for you, our hope is to turn a potentially embarrassing season into a pleasant one. To do this, we will explore the reasons behind nail disorders, as well as share some easy and inexpensive homecare remedies.

Understand Nail Health

Before we jump into the specifics of poor nail health, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the nail itself. Toe and finger nails are composed of densely packed keratinized cells. They grow approximately 1mm per month, from the root, with the nail bed extending along the top of the last digit. The boundary of skin and the free end of the nail is known as the hyponychium, which provides a protective barrier along the nail edge. Nail composition includes roughly 7-12% water, and the surface is remarkably permeable. Nail health can be impacted by a variety of factors including diet, systemic health, trauma, fungus, yeast or mold. Aesthetic signs of a nail problem will include nail thickening or nail discoloration (frequently white or yellow). Because of the vast variety of factors that impact nail health and appearance, it can be difficult to determine root cause. In light of this, we’ll be exploring two of the most common causes.

Dystrophic Nails: 

Nails that are exposed to trauma in the form of sudden impact, repetitive friction, rubbing or pressure will be subject to structural changes. For example, when tissue is exposed to repetitive motions that rub or squeeze, cells often thicken to protect themselves. Calluses then begin form as a response to the frequent pressure and friction. When toenails are squeezed within a narrow toe box and repeatedly rub against each other and the fabric of the shoe, this triggers the nail bed to form tougher, thicker layers of cells. This can cause a toenail to look yellow, slightly darkened and thick.

 Mycotic Nails:

Nails that are infected with a fungus (onychomycosis) will also thicken and discolor. Fungi live within our environment, and sometimes even on our skin. The presence of fungi is not always harmful and may go unnoticed due to lack of irritation or any apparent symptoms. Fungi can become a concern under the right circumstances, specifically a dark, moist and warm environment. Combined with a little rubbing, friction and squeezing, warm and moist skin will begin to break down on a microscopic level. Small cracks will begin to form in predictable areas of friction: between the toes, along cracked heels, at the end of the nail and the nail bed (hyponychium). At these areas where skin breaks down, fungi can seek protection and ‘burrow’ into small crevices. The deeper fungus travels into skin folds or under nail beds, the more difficult it is to treat.

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The most common fungus that impacts nail health, Tinea Pedis, is commonly known as Athlete’s Foot. Tinea Pedis can be found on most surfaces, and loves environments that are warm, moist and dark (like our footwear). Tinea Pedis is also slightly mis-understood, or mis-represented by drug companies. Touching it does NOT mean you will get athlete’s foot. While there are a multitude of factors that can lead to proliferation of Tinea Pedis, it shouldn’t be treated like a contagious disease. Genetic factors like your skin’s biochemistry may make your skin more suitable or desirable to certain fungi, as some feet will sweat more. There are also environmental factors to consider, like a worker or athlete that is unable to take off footwear for a 12 hour shift or a long practice. Fungi also prefer certain materials and fabrics, which you may be wearing unknowingly. Given these genetic and environmental factors, just because you are exposed to or contact fungus doesn’t mean that you will end up with a fungal infection. However, if Tinea Pedis does tend to favor your skin biome, here are some DIY tricks to manage skin and nail health.

How to make toe nails healthier

1. Let your feet breath.

Remove shoes while seated at your desk or when you come home from work. Exposing feet to air frequently prevents moisture build-up and keeps feet dry.

2. Expose feet and nails to the sun.

UVB is a natural germicidal agent, so with sunny days on the horizon go ahead and let those toes see the light of day.

3. Remove nail polish and other barriers to the nail bed.

Nails need to breath to be healthy. Polish not only obscures airflow to the nail, it also prevents other anti-fungal methods like sunlight or topical medications from working. If you must paint your nails, try Just for Toenails Polish. It’s a safer and more natural alternative.

4. Avoid cotton socks.

Cotton traps moisture and harbors fungus easily. Instead, wear socks composed of natural wicking materials like merino wool or bamboo, and those with moisture wicking technology (example: CoolMax®).

5. Wear shoes that are naturally shaped.

When you have to wear shoes, using shoes that allow toes to spread and avoid toe compression will help prevent friction or rubbing against the edge of the nail.

6. Decrease nail bulk.

Debriding nails is the process of trimming and thinning nails. While nail debridement is a common procedure within podiatric offices, you can also use nail clippers and an Emory Board to clip and thin nails at home. Thinning nails helps to remove infected nail bulk, while also exposing the healthy part of the nail to allow either topical medications or sunlight to work faster.

7. Apply topical antifungal creams.

Once the nail is thinned and trimmed, apply topical antifungal cream 5 nights a week to clean, dry skin. Once medication is applied to the nail bed, cover each nail with plastic wrap. This ensures that cream remains on the toe, and prevents the cream from soaking into socks or bed sheets.

Note: Do not use cloth bandages or Band-Aids, as cotton will soak up medications. For active infections, topical antifungals should be used consistently until the entire nail is healthy. Prophylactic medication use may also be recommended on a bi-monthly (ongoing) basis to prevent future fungal growth. For topical treatments to be helpful, the nail must be debrided first.

Depending on the cause of your nail discoloration or thickening, the above steps may only be a small portion of your recovery. It’s important to realize that regardless of the causes, regeneration and growth of a healthy nail will take time. Toenail growth is slow, averaging 1mm per month in length. Full re-growth of a big toenail may take upwards of one year’s time. As you begin to change sock fiber type, footwear shape, introduce nail debridement or topical medications, you may not see full resolution for months. A complete cure can sometime be a lifelong commitment of continuously protecting nails from excessive rubbing and friction, or establishing a routine that keeps feet free of moisture and factors that encourage fungal growth. For a detailed explanation and understanding of your specific nail health concerns, it may be necessary to check with your physician. For common and basic nail needs, we hope the above steps are a positive part of your recovery and health. For other foot and nail health tips and tricks, please visit: correcttoes.com.

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— Update: 12-02-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Best Tips on How to Get Healthy Toenails from the website listotic.com for the keyword how to make toe nails healthier.

Learn how to get healthy, pretty toenails using home remedies!

Toenail health is far more important than you’d think it would be; not knowing the proper methods for caring for toenails can lead to issues such as ingrown toenails, brittle toenails, infection, and toenails that are overall unsightly. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to get healthy toenails and maintain them. This guide will teach you everything from how to whiten toenails to how to prevent toenail fungus. 

How to make toe nails healthier

1. How to Whiten Toenails

If you’re struggling with yellowing or stained nails, then these easy nail whitening tips are sure to be a life-saver. Furthermore, all these tips can be done at home with household items. For example, did you know that you can whiten your toenails at-home using just lemon juice and baking soda? Super convenient life hacks on caring for toenails! Learn how to get healthy toenails by seeing all the best ways to whiten your toenails on Listotic.

How to make toe nails healthier
Source: Listotic

2. How to Properly Trim Toenails

Did you know you’re only supposed to trim your toenails straight across and not curved? An important aspect of toenail health is proper trimming techniques. If you make sure trim your toenails regularly and using the proper methods, then you can avoid painful issues like ingrown toenails, which can lead to infection. Learn the proper methods to trim and maintain healthy toenails over on Healthline.

How to make toe nails healthier
Source: Healthline

3. How to Strengthen Toenails

Learning how to strengthen toenails is crucial when learning how to care for your toenails. Cracked and brittle toenails are not only super painful, but they can also lead to worse problems such as infections. Therefore, it is very important to learn how to strengthen your toenails and how to avoid brittle toenails. One easy way to strengthen your toenails at home is to ensure that they are moisturized with coconut oil or almond oil if the brittleness is caused by dryness. Learn how to get healthy toenails using this list of brittle toenails causes and remedies over on Bel Marra Health.

How to make toe nails healthier
Source: Bel Marra Health

4. How to Get healthy Toenails & Prevent Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus can be unsightly and painful; it’s best to educate yourself and know the warning signs as well as preventative measures. In addition, prevention and in some cases remedies can both be done at home at no cost to you! For example, did you know that you can treat toenail fungus at home with several household items, including baking soda and apple cider vinegar? Learn more methods for how to get healthy toenails by reading the best ways to prevent and treat toenail fungus from Dr. Livingood.

How to make toe nails healthier
Source: Dr. Livingood

5. Toenail Health Warning Signs: Things to Look Out For

In order to have healthy toenails, it’s important to know what to look out for. Our toenails can tell us a lot about our overall health, so learning how to read the warning signs is crucial. For example, yellowing toenails could happen as a result of a fungal infection, and pitting in the toenail could be an indicator of psoriasis or a respiratory disease. Learn more on how to read toenail health warning signs over on The Healthy Back Institute

How to make toe nails healthier
Source: The Healthy Back Institute


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About the Author: Tung Chi