Do Toenails Change with Age?

When we talk about aging, we often think about gray hair, wrinkles, and maybe achy joints. But have you ever considered your toenails? Yes, those humble little nails on your toes. Surprisingly, they can also undergo changes as we get older. In this blog post, we’ll explore the question: Do toenails change with age? We’ll delve into why they change, what they might look like as we age, and some tips on how to care for them.

Do Toenails Change with Age?

closeup photo of person's feet covered with sand

To put it simply, yes, toenails can indeed change with age. Just like other parts of our bodies, toenails can be affected by the natural aging process. But why does this happen? Let’s break it down.

Why Do They Change?

As we age, our bodies go through various changes. Our skin loses elasticity, our bones may become weaker, and our nails can also be impacted. One reason for changes in toenails is decreased blood flow. Blood carries important nutrients and oxygen to our cells, including those in our toenails. As we age, blood circulation can slow down, leading to decreased nourishment to the toenails. This can result in slower nail growth and a change in the nail’s texture and appearance.

Another factor is the wear and tear our toenails experience over the years. Think about it – our toenails endure a lot. They’re constantly pressed against shoes, exposed to the elements, and subject to trauma from stubbing or dropping things on them. Over time, this wear and tear can lead to changes in the toenails, such as thickening or yellowing.

Furthermore, certain health conditions that become more common with age, like diabetes or fungal infections, can also affect the health and appearance of toenails. These conditions can cause toenails to become brittle, discolored, or misshapen.

How Do Old Person Toenails Look?

man and woman holding hands

So, what might toenails look like as we age? Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. Just as every person is unique, so too are their toenails. However, there are some common changes that may occur:

Thickening: As we age, toenails may thicken due to a variety of factors, including decreased blood flow and repeated trauma.

Yellowing: Yellow toenails are a common complaint among older adults. This discoloration can be caused by fungal infections, smoking, or simply the natural aging process.

Brittleness: Older toenails may become more brittle and prone to breaking or splitting. Again, this can be attributed to decreased blood flow and the cumulative effects of wear and tear.

Changes in shape: Toenails may also change shape over time, becoming more curved or even developing a downward slope. This can be due to a variety of factors, including changes in the structure of the toe or improper trimming techniques.

How to Trim Them?

a close up of a person's bare foot on the floor

Proper toenail care becomes even more important as we age. Here are some tips for trimming your toenails:

Use the right tools: Invest in a pair of sharp, clean toenail clippers. Avoid using scissors, as they can cause uneven edges and increase the risk of ingrown toenails.

Trim straight across: When trimming your toenails, aim to cut them straight across. Avoid rounding the corners, as this can increase the likelihood of ingrown toenails.

Don’t cut them too short: Trim your toenails to the edge of the toe, but be careful not to cut them too short. Cutting them too close to the skin can increase the risk of ingrown toenails and infection.

Keep them clean: After trimming your toenails, be sure to clean them thoroughly with soap and water. This helps to remove any dirt or bacteria that may be lurking under the nails.

Moisturize: Toenails can become dry and brittle as we age, so it’s important to moisturize them regularly. Apply a thick moisturizing cream or oil to the nails and surrounding skin to keep them hydrated.


In conclusion, yes, toenails do change with age. Factors such as decreased blood flow, wear and tear, and underlying health conditions can all contribute to changes in the appearance and texture of toenails as we get older. However, with proper care and attention, you can keep your toenails healthy and looking their best well into your golden years. So don’t neglect those humble little nails – give them the TLC they deserve!

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