Brittle Toenails

Brittle Toenails

Our feet are the bottom most part of our body, and hence often miss out on important nutrients, leading to brittle toenails. Hence it is important to take good care of our feet and our toenails so that we can prevent the occurrence of brittle toenails.

Nails are made up of a myriad of naturally produced components like hyponychium, eopnychium, paronychium. The base of the nail contains lunula around the edges and in the nail folds. These are all dead components and the only living part of the nail lies in the matrix of the nail at the very base. This matrix is soft and can be hurt very easily, and hence the hard exterior protection of the nail plate is very important.

Causes Of Brittle Toenails


Toenails are very prone to dryness just like the rest of the body. When the toenails become dry, they become susceptible to all kinds of infections and allergic reactions, which causes them to get brittle with time. To deal with brittle toenails, it is important to first ensure that the toenails are adequately moisturized.

Nutritional deficiency

Your toenails need the right supply of vitamins and minerals to maintain the hard exterior plate. Make sure that your diet consists of high amounts of protein, minerals such as folic acid, vitamin C, pantothenic acid and biotin. These are the nutrients which are most important for maintaining proper nail health, and hence should be consumed in adequate amounts.

Fungal infection

Fungal infection can lead to brittle toenails. Watch out for changes in color and sudden thickness in your toenails. A sudden yellowish or greenish tinge around the toenail, or a change in texture can also indicate a fungal infection. The change in texture is generally due to the keratin consumed by the fungus. An infected nail bed can cause the nail plate to separate from the nail bed.


Aging slows down the flow of sebum to the toenails, causing them to get brittle and soft. Somehow increasing the sebum flow to the toenails through diet can reduce the problem.

Health conditions

Brittle nails are the signs of inadequate supply of oxygen to the body, especially the feet. To deal with brittle toenails, you first need to increase the supply of oxygen to the body. Asthma is a very common condition which can lead to the inadequate supply of oxygen, and hence, give birth to it. Psoriasis can also indicate a decrease in the supply of oxygen. Symptoms of psoriasis mimic those of a fungal infection, so it is difficult to tell apart one from the other. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can also lead to softened and brittle toenails, causing them to split up. Other health conditions that can give rise to it are dehydration, eczema and alopecia areata.

Remedies To Fix Brittle Toenails

  • Keeping toenails clean – This is crucial if you want to ensure that your nails are absolutely healthy. Keeping your toenails clean keeps germs and bacteria at bay. Fungal infections do not get to plague your toenails. To keep your toenails clean, wash them with soap every day. Also cover your feet with socks or shoes whenever stepping out of the house.
  • Proper trimming – It is important to trim your toenails in the correct fashion to promote toenail health. Never cut the cuticle as it the absence of the cuticle can allow water to penetrate the deeper folds of the nail. Keep your toenails short but not so short that they fail to protect the toe itself.
  • Moisturize your toenail – Try to keep your toenails as hydrated as possible. Apply lotions and petroleum jelly to the area, and drink lots of water. You can also apply coconut oil, olive oil and jojoba oil to the toenails as they are known for their moisturizing properties.
  • Harden the toenails – You should apply chemical hardeners to your toenails to prevent them from getting brittle and soft with age or due to too much stress.
  • Apply antifungal agents – Antifungal creams and lotions can keep fungal infections at bay. You can also apply medical ointments and herbal remedies to the toenails, like apple cider vinegar, olive oil, oregano and tea tree oil.
  • Wear loose shoes – Try to wear loose shoes that hang loosely around your feet. A fitted shoe can put pressure on the toenails, causing them to become break.
  • Soak your feet – You should go for occasional foot spa therapies where they soak your feet in different kinds of therapeutic water baths. These baths can help your toenails and make them grow stronger and harder.
  • Eat a balanced diet – To deal with brittle toenails, it is very important to maintain a proper diet. Even your toenails are affected by the things you eat, so make sure that you have adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients in the food that can benefit your toenails. Consume food containing plenty of vitamins B, A, C, D and E, along with zinc, calcium, iron, biotin and folic acid. Omega-3 fatty acids are also an important requirement to maintain proper toenail health.