Thick and misshapen nails: onychogryphosis

Onychogryphosis: what it is, causes and symptoms

Onychogryphosis – also known as “claw nail” – is the alteration in the growth of the nail plate, or rather a nail hypertrophy that manifests itself with an evident deformation of the plate, called hook or ram’s horn.

This condition is usually acquired, but it can also be congenital.
The most common causes of the onset of this phenomenon are attributable to foot mechanics (such as hammer or claw toes and hyperextension of the big toe), ageing, repeated microtraumas caused for example by too tight footwear, injuries after violent impacts on the nail or it can be associated with systemic circulatory diseases, which inhibit the necessary support of nutrients at the peripheral level.

In addition to the purely aesthetic disorder (the nail is discoloured, that is, of a different colour, thick and deformed), this pathology is also very painful because it significantly increases the discomfort, also causing more or less disabling motor difficulties, such as lameness.

In addition, thickened nails (gyphotic) are more prone to fungal infections.

Onychogryphosis: treatment

There are no pharmacological therapies capable of totally counteracting onychogryphosis, but the podiatry treatment is absolutely painless and of immediate relief: through the latest generation instrumentation, the thickness is reduced and the nail modelled, thus bringing it back to a physiological state as possible, to increase the patient’s well-being, eliminate discomfort and reduce the risk of developing secondary diseases such as skin lesions and onychomycosis.
Sometimes it is also possible to trace the triggering cause and eliminate it, thus allowing the nail, over time, to restore its normal growth.

It is not recommended to cut nails affected by onychogryphosis or any dystrophy on your own: in addition to being very difficult and painful, it often generates abundant bleeding, because, in its growth, the altered nail “carries” with it the nail bed, full of capillaries.

Can onychogryphosis be prevented?
If it is not associated with other local or systemic diseases, the podiatrist can intervene through silicone orthoses or custom-made plantar orthoses.

Need to talk to a specialist?

Contact our clinic now! We will figure out together how to help you get back to feeling great again as soon as possible.
If necessary and upon discussion with the patient, we can arrange home visits.