Crumbly Toenails: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, Prevention & More

Crumbly Toenails - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, Prevention & More

Experiencing problems with your toenails frequently is quite rare unless there is an underlying health condition. If you have any problems related to your toenail then one can say that there is likely to be a medical issue. When you will look at the causes of crumbly toenails, you will also know that the reason is toenail fungus.

However, toenail fungus infection generally causes your toenail to become crumbly, dry, brittle toenails, ridges in toenails, etc. Here in this blog, you will get to know everything about crumbly toenails including its causes, diagnosis, treatments, possible risks and more.


What Causes Crumbling Toenails?

Toenail fungus is generally caused due to trapped moisture underneath the toenails. Generally, it happens that when the moisture reaches the toenail bed, it can grow into a fungal infection easily. Fungus thrives in moist and warm environments. Have you ever thought that what another part of the body has those characteristics more than the feet, especially feet that used to stay in socks and shoes throughout the day? This is the reason why it is so easy for a fungus to grown and spread so quickly.

The very first sign of a toenail fungus will be little black spot on toenails itself.  However, it does not take long for these other symptoms to come into play. The longer you let the fungus go, the worse these symptoms become. But, after sometimes, they can become very difficult to treat if it becomes severe. However, treatment is very important for the fungus to go away completely.

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Other Possible Causes of Crumbling Toenails

Possible Causes of Crumbling Toenails

Toenails generally contain something which is called keratin. A toenail fungus will feed on keratin which is what makes the toenails crumbling or dry when we have an untreated fungus. But, there are also more possibilities for having crumbling toenails.

Some of the conditions like eczema, iron deficiency or even poor circulation can also cause your toenails to become crumbly and brittle. The situations we generally put ourselves in or the things we do every day can also play a factor from wearing nail polish too much to swimming frequently.

Most of the situational factors can also lead back to toenail fungus infection. From toenail trauma to the situations where moisture get locked in, it’s the choices we make with the feet that tend to lead to crumbling, dry or thick toenails.

Symptoms Of Crumbling Toenails

Crumbling toenails can be indentified if you notice any of the following below signs and symptoms. All these are the possible signs and symptoms you can notice if you have crumbly toenails:

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Some Common Risk For Developing Crumbly Toenails

You are most likely to contract toenail fungus from the following issues:

  • Frequent or prolonged exposure to water
  • Being barefoot in public with wet floors
  • Sweaty feet and shoes
  • Shoes that constrict the feet
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Damage to the toenail
  • Smoking
  • Medications that suppress your immune system
  • Genetics

Also, you may be more likely to contract toenail fungus infection if you have a pre-existing medical condition like:

  • Circulatory conditions
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Psoriasis

Cancer treatments may generally increase the likelihood of developing the toenail fungus. If you have pre-existing conditions and develop fungus then it is very important to treat the infection as soon as possible.

How To Diagnose Crumbly Toenails?



If you notice any of the changes in the toenails then you should definitely see a doctor. If you treat a toenail fungus infection in its early stages will help you prevent the conditions from worsening.

A podiatrist will look at the toenails to diagnose the toenail issue. The doctor may also take a swab underneath the toenail or even take a toenail clipping to diagnose the toenail condition.

Can Crumbling Toenails Cause Complications?

Sometimes untreated toenail infections can cause some complications.  As time goes on, the toenail infection can get worse and symptoms may become more severe. Toenails can become crumble to the point that they cause discomfort when you try to wear shoes or become difficult to even walk. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, treatment is quite important so the fungus doesn’t contribute to secondary infections or complications.

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How To Treat Crumbly Toenails

How To Treat Crumbly Toenails

Crumbly toenails can become very difficult to treat if it becomes severe. But, if it is not severe then you can try some home treatments and medical treatments. So, below you will first look at some home treatments to cure crumbly toenails and after that, you can look at the medical treatments.

Home-Based Treatments For Crumbly Toenails

Below you will get the best crumbly toenails home treatments that will definitely let you get rid of crumbling toenails.

  • Apply snakeroot extract to the toenail every third day for a month, twice a week in a month and then just once a week in month three.
  • Clean the affected toenail area with water and soap every day.
  • Apply tea tree oil twice a day every day for some regular weeks to get rid of crumbly toenails.
  • Groom your toenails on a regular basis. First of all, soften your toenails by first applying urea cream and then wrap your feet in bandages at night. After this, wash off the urea cream and then use a nail clipper and toenail file to trim your toenails.
  • Apply Vicks Vaporub on the toenail each day and this may help you cure your infectious toenails.

These are some of the best home treatments to get rid of crumbly toenails. All these are very easy to apply and there is no need to take any help from professionals. So, you can try all these crumbly toenails treatment at your home and see the results soon. Now, you can look at the medical treatments to cure crumbly toenails.

Medical Treatments For Crumbly Toenails

Now, in the below section, you can look at some medical crumbly toenails treatment. All these treatments can help you get rid of crumbly toenails with an ease. So, if the above home treatments do not work then try the below medical treatments and see the results:

  • Laser Treatments
  • Topical Medications
  • Oral Medications
  • Removal Of Toenail to Treat Toenail Bed

Treating toenails for fungus may actually require you to stick to the treatment plan for several months. Generally, toenails grow slowly and can take 12 to 18 months to grow out.

Also, you may experience a recurrence of toenail fungus after its complete treatment.  However, if you have done a toenail fungus treatment and want to avoid it from coming back then you can try methods to prevent it from growing in your toenails again.

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How To Prevent Crumbly Toenails

How To Prevent Crumbly Toenails

You can prevent crumbly toenails or the recurrence of toenail fungus infection in these following ways:

  • Apply a foot powder that keeps your feet dry.
  • Keep your feet very clean by washing them with water and soap on a regular basis. Try to dry them off with a towel afterward.
  • Groom your feet in a proper manner. Keep in mind that your toenails should not grow beyond the end of the toe.
  • Keep your feet as dry as possible. Try to change your socks a few times a day and also you should wear dry socks that remove moisture from the feet. Rotate your shoes so they can dry out and then buy shoes that actually breathe and don’t constrict the feet.
  • Try to wear flip-flops or other shower shoes when you are in locker rooms or even at the pool.
  • Always use disinfected tools while trimming your toenails.

Follow all these prevention tips to prevent toenail fungus infection. All these tips will help you avoid having a recurrence of toenail fungus infection. So, do not miss all these prevention tips to follow and enjoy your life.


Crumbly toenails look so bad and make your confidence level little down. But, there are several causes of having crumbly toenails which you can see in the above sections of this blog. Also, you will get to know about the symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, prevention tips, and more. You can treat crumbly toenails with the help of some home treatments and medical treatments and all these treatments will definitely help you get rid of crumbly toenails.


Crumbly Toenails: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, Prevention & More
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Crumbly Toenails: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatments, Prevention & More
Crumbly toenails can be easily treated with the help of some home treatments as well as medical treatments. All these treatments will help you to get rid of crumbly toenails, Also, know how to prevent recurrence of toenail fungus in this blog.
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Cure Toenail Fungus
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