Grooming and softening fungal nails is an essential part of toenail maintenance when your nails are infected with fungal spores. Toenail fungus infections can have both functional and aesthetic consequences. Understanding these signs and symptoms is important and helpful for a few reasons. For example, being able to identify toenail fungus early on in its progression can aid in the sometimes frustrating treatment process. Because fungus grows quickly, the earlier you receive treatment for it the better. Additionally, understanding the cause of your concerns can help maintain the condition of your nails while you are waiting to receive treatment or see results. 


Fungal grooming and softening is arguably one of the most important parts of fungal nail maintenance. Fungal infections often cause changes to the nail that include aesthetic differences in appearance, which can be annoying and unpleasant. While these can be annoying, the functional changes a toenail fungus can cause are usually more urgent. Toenail fungus can often make the nails hard and thick. In this condition, the nails can become much more difficult to maintain. Particularly, the nails become difficult to trim and clip as you normally would.


Fungal grooming and softening is a big part of regular hygiene. Regular toenail hygiene should include regularly washing the toes to wash away dirt, grime, and other bad things from the nail. Trimming the nails is also essential to proper nail hygiene. When the toenails aren’t trimmed regularly, they will become excessively long. Long toenails are both uncomfortable and unsightly. At long lengths, the nails can start to push up against your shoes as you walk, which can be a cause of pain and discomfort. Additionally, the nails can even start to curl underneath your toe, which is aesthetically unpleasing and can cause more issues. Very long nails can also even start to irritate the skin of the toe. Nails are also more prone to breakage when they are very long, which can potentially create sharp edges that could form an ingrown toenail. 


Grooming and softening is essential for the maintenance of fungal toenails. Unfortunately, the condition of fungal toenail can make this impossible. When nails become excessively thick, it can be hard to even get your nail clippers to fit around the nail. Thickened nails tend to be mechanically more difficult to cut, which is because the nail clippers have to be able to cut through a larger amount of nail material. Additionally, the nail fungus can actually cause the toenails to become more hardened than normal. Even if the toenail is the same thickness as normal, nails that are hardened because of fungus can still be more difficult to cut.


Grooming and softening fungal toenails is therefore an important step of their maintenance. This isn’t hard to do at home, which is good news. Actually, many highly effective nail softening techniques can be done very easily at home with just a few basic steps and ingredients. The best at home treatment to do if you have hardened or thickened toenails is simply soaking them regularly in a bath of warm water. This treatment allows the toenails to absorb the water and become easier to cut. The steps for this treatment are simple: fill a bathtub or other container with enough warm water to submerge your feet, and let them sit for 20-40 minutes. You can add epsom salts into the water, which will enhance the softening experience. To make the experience even more enjoyable, try lighting a candle or reading a book in the meantime. This will make the softening process something you can even learn to enjoy!


After grooming and softening fungal toenails in warm water, they should be much easier to cut through. Immediately after you finish the foot soak, you should try trimming your toenails again. You can repeat the soaking process the next day until your nails are soft enough to cut if they aren’t soft enough the first time. You increase the amount of time your nails have to soften by repeating the process across a few days. However, this process won’t be effective for everybody with hard, thick toenails, and other measures are necessary to groom the nails properly. If your nails are relatively thin but are hardened from fungus, making them resistant to softening, a nail softening cream may be helpful as well by helping soften the nail further. Excessively thickened nails can also be debrided by a podiatrist which can make them thin enough to treat. This treatment is usually followed with an antifungal treatment.


Softening fungal toenails can only permanently be done with an FDA-approved treatment administered by a licensed podiatrist. To avoid needing to soak your feet every time you trim them for the rest of your life, you will need to eliminate the root cause of the hardening and thickening. The best treatment available is the PinPointe laser, which typically requires only one treatment to eliminate the fungus. After this treatment, a new healthy nail will grow behind the old damaged one. This new nail will be softer and easier to cut. To schedule a consultation with a licensed podiatrist for the PinPointe laser, give us a call at 1-(800) 672-0625 or visit our website for more information.