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HomeAnswersDermatologyfrictional keratosisWhat is the reason for thickening of skin on the toe?

Why is there a thickening of the skin on toe?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At October 23, 2018
Reviewed AtJuly 27, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have noticed thickening of the skin on the right toe which is a little darker than the rest of the skin. There is no irritation, or any other issue. I have been applying moisturizer to keep it softer. What are the cause and remedy? I am a diabetic aged 52 years and diabetes is under control with medication. HbA1c was 6.7 % 20 days back.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

For how many months you have noticed this? Do you have similar lesions anywhere else like knuckle or neck? Possibilities are frictional hyperkeratosis or acanthosis nigricans. Most likely it is frictional hyperkeratosis, which could be friction from the footwear since it is localized and involves a single toe as per the picture (attachment removed to protect patient identity). The other possibility is acanthosis nigricans, the thickening, and darkening of skin over the neck, armpits, knuckles, and toes, common in diabetes.

Frictional hyperkeratosis responds to topical corticosteroids with Salicylic acid combination ointment, like HH Salic ointment, mix it with Xerina cream (moisturizer with Urea and Glycolic acid, helps to smoothen and lighten the skin) in a 1:1 ratio. Apply a thin layer to the affected spot only at night. Make sure not to apply on the normal skin. Use it for two weeks. Use soft footwear that does not put pressure on the toe.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Ashwini. V. Swamy
Dr. Ashwini. V. Swamy


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