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Why do our toenails get ugly as we age??

Started 1332246687.517 in Beauty Banter | Last reply 1332449810.06 by txrose

Just another thing that gets out of control as we age, I guess. I have been in socks and closed-in shoes all winter and got out some sandals a few days ago and prepared to give myself a pedi. What is going on with our toenails as we age? Not to be graphic, but the big nails appear to be turning yellow and they are much more brittle to cut than they used to be. The other toenails appear to be getting thicker and harder to trim. I have a friend who is a podiatrists, and I know that his office is a revolving door of older patients for toenail trims. I suppose a lot of that could be because they can't really get down there to trim them, but I am just talking about the issues that I mentioned.

Well, at least I covered my disgusting looking nails with a pretty pink polish so I won't have to offend myself. Some days I hate this aging thing. {#emotions_dlg.sad}

"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God". ~ Bob Pierce ~ Founder of World Vision

Pray for the USA, Pray for Israel

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jerseygirl11332247062.767569 PostsRegistered 2/21/2007

You've got toe nail fungus.

NiteStar1332247683.152195 PostsRegistered 12/8/2004

I'm 58 and have pretty good looking toenails. It's one part of my body I can say is actually pretty........When all done up with polish.....I have pretty feet! LOL

benzgirl1332247702.365682 PostsRegistered 12/23/2006Tennessee by way of the great state of NY

Oh, now I am really freaking out. What exactly does that mean and how would I have gotten it?

"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God". ~ Bob Pierce ~ Founder of World Vision

Pray for the USA, Pray for Israel

imaclothes­hog1332248654.65721806 PostsRegistered 2/12/2006

Sounds like toenail fungus to me too. Toenails that are discolored, yellow, deeply ridged, and are either lifting from the beds or are brittle and hard to clip sometimes are infected with fungus. You should see a doctor. They can prescribe Lamisil and it clears up the fungus after several months. That is really the only way to get rid of it, long term. Lots of home remedies and other tricks don't actually work or they seem to work for a while but the fungus is down in the toenail bed and has to be killed with an antifungal. My DH had toenail fungus, we think he must have picked it up at the gym. You can pick it up anywhere going barefoot, and wearing closed shoes with sweaty socks. The fungus thrives in moist environments. You can get it at gyms, yoga studios, nail salons, hospitals even, doctor's offices, etc. One round of Lamisil and it will be gone. It took my DH probably about 6 months to a year before his toenails grew back in and looked normal again.

Last edited on 3/20/2012

Last edited on 3/20/2012

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it". ~Erma Bombeck

nancypoo1332248769.381413 PostsRegistered 5/13/2011

Why on earth would you ask HERE---so you get "more freaked out"??

Don't you think it's time to check out your friend's office?

little mis­s sunshine1332248771.672434 PostsRegistered 10/13/2006

I'm almost 70 and I have nice feet and nails too. I get a pedicure once a month to keep them in good shape. Maybe you need a trip to your derm and check out your nails. You could have something going on.

Maggie Nol­ia1332249090.22314669 PostsRegistered 1/30/2006
On 3/20/2012 benzgirl said:

I have a friend who is a podiatrists, and I know that his office is a revolving door of older patients for toenail trims.


They could be diabetics.

Otherwise, speak for yourself. My toenails are beautiful, and seems others on this thread have nice toenails, too.

Buzzards fly in packs. Eagles soar alone.

Pray for the USA.


"Let's roll." ~ Todd Beamer, 9/11/01.

annabellet­hecat1332249258.14314113 PostsRegistered 9/23/2006
You can get it even by wearing shoes someone else wore who had it. I have or rather I did have it in my one big toe. I in no way tell anyone to do what I did. I'm just telling you what I did. In the shower I saw the spray bottle of Tilex. I reached over and sprayed it as much as I could into the top of my big toenail so that it would go down into it. I did it a few more times. My thinking was, you know how Tilex gets rid of bacteria, well that fungus is bacteria. Did it get rid of it. You betcha it did! Noain in it. Again, I don't condone doing this, I'm just saying what worked for me, it made my toe look so ugly, I hated it.

annabellet­hecat1332249489.02314113 PostsRegistered 9/23/2006
Benezgirl, I know what you mean. It's a joke I always say to the girl who does my pedicure, my right foot is my favorite thing on my body. The nails look good. I don't have blue veins on it . Just looks good!

jerseygirl11332249585.9569 PostsRegistered 2/21/2007
On 3/20/2012 annabellethecat said: You can get it even by wearing shoes someone else wore who had it. I have or rather I did have it in my one big toe. I in no way tell anyone to do what I did. I'm just telling you what I did. In the shower I saw the spray bottle of Tilex. I reached over and sprayed it as much as I could into the top of my big toenail so that it would go down into it. I did it a few more times. My thinking was, you know how Tilex gets rid of bacteria, well that fungus is bacteria. Did it get rid of it. You betcha it did! Noain in it. Again, I don't condone doing this, I'm just saying what worked for me, it made my toe look so ugly, I hated it.

Fungus is NOT bacteria, it's fungus. Tilex gets rid of mold which is fungus.

spenditall­baby1332250029.06633 PostsRegistered 11/20/2007Surfer's Paradise and Flower Capital

Yup, nail fungus. Once it's cleared up (an easy fix, and I like the way jerseygirl thinks with Tilex--makes sense!) consider getting a pedicure on a regular basis. Even if you go every three weeks, just keep you toenails short, especially if you wear socks that can make you feet sweat and contribute to nail fungus.

toria1332250826.19273 PostsRegistered 1/28/2007Illinois

I have battled toenail fungus for years. It is not easy to get rid of. I am under a doctors care and have used just about everything available even that very expensive new stuff you paint on that you get via a prescription. Nothing works. My podiatrist says that mostly it comes back in many people. Even those that take the pills report that it can come back.

I do think you should go to a doctor and see if you can get rid of it. The most I have been able to do is to keep it at bay. I am constantly filing my nails down, clipping and cutting them to keep them in some reasonable shape as they get very thick. At least I have all my toenails as I know some people have had them removed. Not going to do that. I file them down and do the best I can and then I get a pedicure and they look reasonable. Darker or medium tone polish as opposed to a light color looks better and a neutral color is also better as it does not call attention to your toes. I have also had a fake toenail put on my big toe to make it look better and that does work well but I do not think this is too healthy. It seems like vicks vapo rub is a home cure and it seems to help but not eliminate the fungus.

jerseygirl11332250853.937569 PostsRegistered 2/21/2007
On 3/20/2012 spenditallbaby said:

Yup, nail fungus. Once it's cleared up (an easy fix, and I like the way jerseygirl thinks with Tilex--makes sense!) consider getting a pedicure on a regular basis. Even if you go every three weeks, just keep you toenails short, especially if you wear socks that can make you feet sweat and contribute to nail fungus.


I did NOT suggest tilex! It's chlorine and I would NEVER suggest anyone put that on their body. There are other things that kill fungus but would suggest she go to her doctor. They are treating nail fungus with lazers now which is quick and painless.

ok4ablonde21332251116.7538837 PostsRegistered 3/9/2009Midwest

Yes, you have toenail fungus. I got it a few years back - I think from walking around in my yard barefoot when the grass was really damp from the dew.

Three months of Lamisil tablets took care of it, although it took longer for the nails to grow out fully where they were no longer so thick. They were so thick from the fungus nail clippers wouldn't open wide enough to trim.

Lamisil, even back then, was VERY expensive. 3 months worth ran almost $800.00. Thankfully I had good insurance then where I only paid the co-pay. I think there's a generic now, but even the generic is super expensive.

"We're all mad here." - The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland

Gloria1332252090.44343 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004
On 3/20/2012 NiteStar said:

I'm 58 and have pretty good looking toenails. It's one part of my body I can say is actually pretty........When all done up with polish.....I have pretty feet! LOL

Me, too! {#emotions_dlg.thumbup} Who says we have ugly toenails when we age!? Not me! I am happily in sandals/flip flops sporting bubblegum pink nail polish! I feel springy. It is going to be in the 70's all week! {#emotions_dlg.biggrin}

benzgirl1332252183.3475682 PostsRegistered 12/23/2006Tennessee by way of the great state of NY

Wow. Toenail fungus. I didn't realize that until I read some of your responses and did a little on-line research. I just thought it was age related. I guess after an entire winter of socks, closed in shoes and slippers, I probably picked this up somehow. Some of the research seems to indicate that it can be caused by dampness (like being in socks or slippers all winter long). The only toes that seem to be affected are my big toes, and they aren't anywhere as ugly as any of the picture I saw on-line, so the sooner I seek treatment, the sooner I think I will be able to cure this. I will call my dr. to schedule an appointment today. Do I see a podiatrist, or can my GP prescribe something for me?

"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God". ~ Bob Pierce ~ Founder of World Vision

Pray for the USA, Pray for Israel

Tabbycat1332252853.392829 PostsRegistered 12/2/2007

OP ........ I would not assume it is toenail fungus until your podiatrist tells you it is. I've thought I had it for 3 or 4 years, now ... but about a month ago I went to see my podiatrist about porokeratosis (clogged pore) on the bottom of my foot. I thought that was beginning plantars wart ... NOPE!

Also, 3 or 4 of my toenails have become thick and yellowish. He said "not toenail fungus"! This is due to trauma of the nail. Well, that is believable to me since my poor feet and toes do take a beating. I used to keep them cramped up all day in tight high heels, but not any more. Seems like I'm always stubbing one and I found out that's not a good thing either.

Tabby
~ At my age ... Less is More~
"Without Failure, We Would Not Recognize Success"

StillPooh1332252957.117436 PostsRegistered 5/3/2005Maryland
On 3/20/2012 toria said:

I have battled toenail fungus for years. It is not easy to get rid of. I am under a doctors care and have used just about everything available even that very expensive new stuff you paint on that you get via a prescription. Nothing works. My podiatrist says that mostly it comes back in many people. Even those that take the pills report that it can come back.

I do think you should go to a doctor and see if you can get rid of it. The most I have been able to do is to keep it at bay. I am constantly filing my nails down, clipping and cutting them to keep them in some reasonable shape as they get very thick. At least I have all my toenails as I know some people have had them removed. Not going to do that. I file them down and do the best I can and then I get a pedicure and they look reasonable. Darker or medium tone polish as opposed to a light color looks better and a neutral color is also better as it does not call attention to your toes. I have also had a fake toenail put on my big toe to make it look better and that does work well but I do not think this is too healthy. It seems like vicks vapo rub is a home cure and it seems to help but not eliminate the fungus.

Toria, I am in the same boat. I think mine started when I became a nurse, and spent 12 hour shifts sweating in support hose and closed shoes.

Over the years I have tried everything from Lamisil to Tea Tree oil to Vick's Vapo Rub. Last year I even ponied up a thousand bucks to have laser treatment done. The podiatrist who did that procedure had me using a topical antifungal every day afterwards, which IMO defeated the purpose of having the laser. My nails improved but are far from cured.

I bought some specialty nail polish from Drs Remedy that seems to help, too.

~Denise

jewelfool1332253462.751380 PostsRegistered 12/26/2009
Benzgirl, I have ugly toenails, too. The girl that paints my toes occasionally says it is kind of like bruising on the nails from wearing too tight, too little, or pointed toe shoes which I do wear....not fungus. Last edited on 3/20/2012

Last edited on 3/20/2012

spenditall­baby1332253872.59633 PostsRegistered 11/20/2007Surfer's Paradise and Flower Capital

I'm speaking from personal experience. I had three toenails that were thick, yellow and brittle and difficult to trim. It was indeed a toenail fungus. I used some over-the-counter stuff, cut them short, let them grow out and voila. I now have a pedicure done every three weeks on my healthy, pink toenails. Sorry for any confusion or misinterpretation on my part.

daisyk1332255050.347466 PostsRegistered 5/20/2011

Just wanted to say it might not be fungus. I had discoloration-yellowish and somewhat thicker-hard to cut-had them checked out and biopsied or whatever the term is and it was not fungus. Some yellowing and brittleness can come with age. When I have them buffed they look much better. Of course you need to get it checked out to be sure.

Writertoo1332255081.42675 PostsRegistered 8/31/2009
On 3/20/2012 Perkup said:

Good grief, gals. There's no guarantee that the OP has toe nail fungus. Our toenails do tend to turn yellow as we age. It's all part of the aging process. I'm old, so there are lots of "old folks" in my circle of friends. And very few of us wear open toed shoes and/or sandals, but it's not because of a fungus.

DH's toenails are getting rather yellow. There's no fungus among us. Just a lot of years of walking on those feet and sometimes squeezing them into containers that don't fit properly. No reason the OP should not see a doctor, but it's pretty tough to diagnose toenail fungus over the internet.

I agree. I too have discovered that my toenails are are more brittle and harder to cut. But I just assumed it has to do with my job. I am on my feet for hours at a time in closed shoes. Maybe that's what's going on with the OP. I wouldn't assume there was a fungus among us!{#emotions_dlg.laugh}

blossomgirl1332258827.322591 PostsRegistered 1/27/2011

toenails can yellow and brittle as we age. If you are in doubt, see a podiatrist as I've found primary physicians are not always sure about toenail fungus.

Last edited on 3/20/2012

Last edited on 3/20/2012

Skylands1332259042.3876221 PostsRegistered 5/30/2010
On 3/20/2012 benzgirl said:

Just another thing that gets out of control as we age, I guess. I have been in socks and closed-in shoes all winter and got out some sandals a few days ago and prepared to give myself a pedi. What is going on with our toenails as we age? Not to be graphic, but the big nails appear to be turning yellow and they are much more brittle to cut than they used to be. The other toenails appear to be getting thicker and harder to trim. I have a friend who is a podiatrists, and I know that his office is a revolving door of older patients for toenail trims. I suppose a lot of that could be because they can't really get down there to trim them, but I am just talking about the issues that I mentioned.

Well, at least I covered my disgusting looking nails with a pretty pink polish so I won't have to offend myself. Some days I hate this aging thing. {#emotions_dlg.sad}

Sure, yes, why not ask this of your "podiatrist friend"? He/she is the foot expert?

Madisson1332259273.2232111 PostsRegistered 10/13/2011SoCal

Mine look ok. Sounds like toenail fungus to me. I would see a podiatrist too.

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

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