How to File Down Thick Toenails 

Unattractive thick and yellow toe nails are a result of nail injuries and toe fungus. It is not an easy job to properly take care of a thick toenail and cautious care must be taken in order to avoid a potential spread of infection to the surrounding toenails. It is better to weed out the root of the problem using appropriate medications before proceeding to use special tools to thin out and file down the nail.

How to File Down Thick Toenails

1. Make the Toenail Soft

Start by washing the feet thoroughly with soap, all your attention should be centralized on the toenails. Rinse off the soap using warm water, and dry with a towel. Then use a salted foot bath to thin and soften the thick toenails. To achieve this, add three tablespoons of sea salt to a bowl or basin of water, then dip your feet into the mixture and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Thoroughly dry the feet and apply some moisturizing cream or baby oil on toenails, which will help in softening the nails.

2. File the Toenail

Thick toenails should not be filed using regular files, or they can easily get grooves in them or become damaged all together. The suitable tool for thick nails is the polishing files which have four sides with varying textures. They do a great work in polishing and evening out nails. File down the nail surface using steady and gentle movements to remove the layers.

3. Trim the Toenail

How to file down thick toenails? The proper nail cut is important to avoid nails digging into your skin. Use sturdy nail clippers or special nail pedicure scissors to cut the nails neatly and straight, making sure the corners are not too short. After cutting, file down the nails to give it a square appearance. The nails will be thinner and have a better appearance.

How to Treat Thick Toenails

Knowing how to file down thick toenails is not enough. Thick toenails can indicate various underlying conditions. Figure out what your cause is and treat the condition accordingly.

1. For Thick Toenails Caused by Fungus

When it comes to thick toenails, fungus is a common culprit. Here are some natural remedies you could try:

  • Orange oil or tea tree oil: The anti-bacterial and fungicidal properties of tea tree oil make it a common remedy for toenail fungus. Orange oil is also effective in treating fungus. Make sure to dilute the oils before using them on the nails. If you want to use this remedy to treat nail fungus, you will need a teaspoon of tea tree oil, ½ teaspoon of orange oil and ½ teaspoon of olive/grape seed oil, and cotton balls. Mix the oils together, dip the cotton ball into it and gently dab the affected nail with it. Then allow the oil mixture to dry naturally. 
  • Baking soda and vinegar soak: Baking powder cannot kill fungus, but it can prevent it from spreading and growing thanks to its fungistatic property. Fungus thrives in acidic environments and baking soda is alkaline. Although vinegar is a weak acid and might seem like a bad idea to use in killing fungus, it is actually great for killing fungus without changing the pH of the environment. To treat the toenail fungus, you can mix the one cup of vinegar and 4-5 tablespoons of baking powder separately with enough water, and let your feet soak in each for 15 minutes. Do this twice per day.
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil is great for killing foot fungus as it is a natural fungicide. The fungal membrane is essential for the survival of fungus, and coconut oil is full of fatty acids which can effectively enter the fatty area of the fungal membrane, thus disintegrating its cell and totally obliterating the fungus. You can rub the coconut oil on the affected nails for 2 -3 times per day to get its effects.

2. For Thick Toenails Caused by Poor Circulation

Poor circulation can be caused by many chronic illnesses, with diabetes being the most common one. This is more about the prevention rather than cure. Make sure you treat the diabetes properly so that circulation is improved. Your shoes should be fitted and a daily inspection of the feet should be done to check for abrasions or blisters you may not be aware of. What's more, dipping your feet inside hot water before hitting the sheets will improve the circulation, and promote the healing process.

3. For Thick Toenails Caused by Eczema

How to file down thick toenails? Now you know the answer, and if thick toenails are caused by eczema, you have to treat it to prevent toenails from becoming thick again.

  • There are many factors that can lead to the growth of eczema, such as sweat, stress, contact with harsh soaps and perfumes. Be aware of what triggers your condition and avoid it.
  • Use cold compress such as ice packs on the affected toe nail whenever you feel uncomfortable. This is going to relieve eczema symptoms such as irritation, swelling and redness.
  • Try some of the remedies listed in the fungus segment above, or you can use hydrocortisone to relieve the irritation and swelling by applying it to the affected nails.