As we get older, we get a bit sore and stiff, whether we want to admit it or not. We can let some things go, and one of the parts of our body that may get neglected are our feet.
Older people are more likely to see changes in their nails on their hands and feet, and common foot disorders include diabetic ulcers, ingrown nails, fungus, arthritis and corns and calluses.
Toenails can thicken when there is any sort of alteration to the nail bed or root of the nail, most commonly just from wear and tear and not a lot of tender love and care!
Metabolic change and reduction of blood flow can be to blame, but largely fungal infections are the major cause of thickening toenails.
Here are our 10 top tips to make sure your nails stay in great condition so they do not limit your ability to move and stay active.
1. Look for irregularities
Take a good look at your feet and see if you notice any changes. Are your nails discoloured? Do they appear thick? Do they smell? If so, you might have a bacterial infection, which should be seen by a doctor. If you have diabetes, it’s very important for your health that you maintain your feet and toenails.
2. Stay warm and dry
Fungal infections breed in damp conditions such as a sweaty sock or tight shoe. Dry your feet thoroughly and ensure you have nice loose shoes and clean socks.
3. Cut toenails properly
It can be our impulse to want to cut our toenails right off and very short, but care needs to be taken to make sure you don’t encourage ingrown toenails. Cut your nails straight across with no curves.
4. Keep elevated
If you notice your feet are looking a bit worse for wear, pop them up on a stool. Research has shown that by keeping your feet elevated, you can maintain better foot circulation. Avoid crossing your legs.
5. Avoid nail polish
Nail polish may look great but it can irritate your nail bed, especially if you already have a fungal infection. If you must use nail polish, try to avoid touching the skin around your nails.
6. Use lemon
Get those yellow stains off your nails by soaking your toenails in a bowl of lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub off the discolouration. Toothpaste also works well!
7. Treat your toenail fungus with mouthwash
It sounds strange but mouthwash is filled with strong compounds and antiseptics such as salicylate thymol, a type of alcohol and eucalyptol which when combined, forms a strong toenail fungus treatment. Fill up a foot bash with 1 part Listerine and 1 part vinegar until your toenails are covered. Use a pumice stone to scratch the nails so the solution absorbs into them.