How to Improve Brittle Toenails

Brittle toenails occur when nails are not properly nourished or cared for. Improper nail care practice can weaken the nail bed and invite fungal infection. Preventative measures including cleanliness, adequate nutrition and wearing well-fitting shoes will keep you from having to cure brittle nails. When brittleness does occur, there are several treatment options to restore health and sheen to your toenails.

Step 1

Trim your toenails regularly, keeping the tops rounded and the corners slightly squared. According to, this is best done after bathing or soaking your feet, so that the nails are easier to manage. After trimming, file the thickened areas with a wooden emory board.

Step 2

Apply a moisturizing nail hardener to your nails weekly. Opt for a hardener that does not contain formaldehyde, suggests Formaldehyde actually dries your toenails, increasing brittleness. A hardener should lock in moisture while keeping your toenails protected from dirt and sunlight.

Step 3

Massage your toenails daily with a thick moisturizer. Toenails need moisture just like your skin, according to Massage moisturizers into the nail after bathing and after removing nail polish.

Step 4

Eat a well-balanced diet of lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lowfat dairy. According to, a poor diet can greatly contribute to brittle nails. Following proper nutritional guidelines as set forth by the FDA, will ensure that your nutritional needs are met for toenail health.

Step 5

Wash and dry your feet and nails daily to remove bacteria and fungus. Dry your feet and toenails thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes. Toenail fungus thrives in damp, dark conditions and damp feet can leave your toenails prime for infection.

Things You'll Need

  • Nail clippers

  • Wooden emory board

  • Nail hardener

  • Moisturizer

  • Soap

  • Water

  • Clean towel

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