A Complete Guide Of Everything You Need To Know About Thick Curved Toenail

A curved toenail is a condition in which the side of the toenails curves inwardly causing a digging of the immediate surrounding skin. The thick nails are an eyesore which not only affects the toenails but also fingernails. 

If the condition is left unchecked or untreated it can result in a lot of pain, causing redness and swelling of your feet. If the problem persists and you don’t seek medical attention, it can result in the growth of an infection

At first, you may start noticing your skin getting hard then followed by the formation of fluid or pus in the surrounding areas. Thick Curved toenails can be an acquired condition or hereditary traits being passed down.

In this post, we are going to have a thorough and in-depth discussion on its causes, symptoms, and possible treatments of thick curved toenail condition. So, let’s dive in!

Causes of Curved Toenails


Trauma is one of the major reasons for curved toenails especially if there is damage to your toe, the pains and damage changes the growth trajectory of your nails causing it to grow inwards rather than the normal growth course.

On your feet, the big toe is the likeliest candidate to grow inwards as it absorbs all the shock during impact resulting in this condition. It’s important to note that, a single accident will not cause a curved toenail but a rather repeated accident to your feet causes trauma which leads to thick curved toenails.

For athletes who engage in strenuous physical exercises and exert a lot of force and pressure on the toe end are the likeliest to be affected by thick nails.

Putting on tight shoes

Wearing shoes that are a bit small compared to your feet size will lead to close scrunching of your feet due to limited space.

If your wear the tight-fitting shoe for a long period, you’ll start noticing your toenails start growing inwards rather than the normal growth trajectory due to the excess pressure exerted on them, the likeliest affected toe will be the big one.

It always recommended purchasing the appropriately sized footwear, for kids its always advisable to pay special attention to their feet sizes as it can be a little bit tricky keeping up with growth spurts. 

Don’t guess your feet size when buying shoes but rather try them out first before buying one. Not that don’t just check on the length of the shoe but also the width of the shoe as a narrow shoe can result in the downward growth of your toenails.

Poor grooming and hygiene

People who sweat a lot on their feet and they do not clean and let them dry are likely to develop thick curved toenail. Its always recommended to clean your feet thoroughly daily and let them dry. Also, trim your toenails once every two weeks.

Cleaning and drying your feet will minimize the chances of an infection, moist environment promotes bacterial growth. Never share your shoes with other people which prevents the spread of infections.


Other people have the genetic predisposition which makes their toenails naturally curve inwards, for such people they should take extreme precautions. The thick curved toenails will likely result in extreme pain so it’s advisable to visit your doctor regularly, another remedy is surgery.


Studies have shown that deficiency of zinc and iron will most likely cause the upward curving of toenails making you susceptible to injury. The deficiency of B12 is also likely to cause the curving of the toenails.

What are some of the symptoms of thick curved toenails?

One of the earliest symptoms of curved toenails is swelling and tenderness of the affected area, if you apply pressure on the affected part, you’ll feel a sharp pain. If you continue to ignore the problem, the condition will continue to worsen leading to fluid build-up and increased swelling.

The surrounding skin starts to swell and becomes red signaling an infection on your toes, at this point you’ll start feeling severe pain all the time even if you don’t apply force or pressure on the affected part. You’ll start seeing pus coming out from the infected area as well as blood, the affected area will also be a bit warm compared to other parts of your toes.

The skin surrounding the infected area becomes thick as a result of the growth of granulation tissue whose main role is to assist the curing of wounds. Other symptoms of thick curved toenails include: 

  • A change in toenail color to green, brown or yellow
  • Toenails have a foul odor
  • The toenails have a chalky or scaly appearance
  • The toenails have debris and dirt underneath

Treatment options of thick curved toenails

Nail lifting


If you are sure that your toenails aren’t infected, then there is no need of going to a doctor. For those who are affected by thick curved nails you can fix them yourself but it’s always advisable to go to a doctor for excellent results.


For home treatments, you can start by soaking the affected feet in warm water, twice or thrice a day. The next step is placing a dental floss or cotton ball under the curved toenails and lift the curved edges slowly, this will separate the ingrown edges from the skin allowing them to grow in a proper trajectory.

To manage the pain, its recommended you either use Advil or Tylenol, you don’t require a prescription to buy them as it can be bought across the counter. To minimize infection on the affected area, you can apply a topical antibiotic cream or steroid cream

Partial toenail removal 


This process entails cutting the ingrown edges of your toes and apply phenol which will prevent the growth of the curved toenails. To minimize inner growth, you can place a ball of cotton wool on the remaining nails.

Note that don’t try the partial nail removal yourself, only certified professional should do that. 



If thickness causes ingrowing of your nails instead of the curvature, your whole nail might be removed by the doctor, this process is known as Matrixectomy. To prevent pain, anesthesia will be administered.

Home Treatment of Thick Curved Toenails


Having thick curved toenails is not a life-threatening condition but if left untreated it can worsen over time and lead severe pain and uncomfortable when walking. The good news is they are multiple effective treatment options.