About 20 percent of the population suffers from brittle nail syndrome, a condition that causes toenails to become extremely brittle and ultimately break.
Your toenails are made up of layers of protein that are responsible for making the nail strong and thick. In people suffering from brittle nail syndrome, these protein layers separate or break down.
It’s important to remember that like our skin, nails can also dry out, which causes them to break and become more vulnerable to toenail infections. This condition most often occurs with repeated exposure to moisture and can be exacerbated by low atmospheric humidity. This is because your nails expand when they come into contact with water, and then contract when they dry out. Unfortunately, this constant back and forth between expansion and contract eventually takes a toll on your nails and makes them brittle.
Medically known as onychorrhexis, brittle toenails are visually unappealing as it causes the nails become rigid and split.
Other symptoms may include:
- Nails that break or peel easily
- Flaking at the base of the nail
- Your nails have a series of longitudinal ridges
- The protein layers of your nails break down or separate
There is often not one single cause for brittle toenail syndrome, but rather a number of factors working together.
At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, has found that there are several possible causes of of brittle toenail syndrome that include, but are not limited to the following: