Treatment for thick, yellowish toenails varies based on the underlying cause but may include topical and oral anti-fungal medications, laser treatment and surgical removal of the nail in extreme cases, according to Foot Vitals. If the cause is systemic, patients must treat the overall condition before treating the toenail.
Although toenails naturally thicken with age, thick toenails in younger individuals often signal an injury or infection, as affirmed by Foot Vitals. Toenail fungus may cause the nail to turn a yellow or brownish hue before thickening, and it often has a foul odor. The yeast or fungi feed on keratin and can be transmitted by direct or indirect contact with an infected individual. This infection is most common on the little and big toe. A doctor prescribes an anti-fungal tincture for mild cases, and he may need to thin the nail periodically to allow the medication to penetrate. Oral anti-fungal medications are required for more severe cases, and topical powders and solutions help to prevent recurrence.
Photodynamic laser therapy is a modern anti-fungal treatment method that involves exposing the infected nail to intense light after an acid treatment, and it is reported as 85 percent effective, as stated by Foot Vitals. If age or injury is responsible for the toenail thickening and the patient experiences chronic pain, the doctor may recommend removing the nail down to the root. Individuals should contact a doctor for proper diagnosis before engaging in any treatment.