O is for Onychophosis

November 9, 2021

There are a lot of painful conditions of the toenails and onychophosis is probably the most common. It is the development of a callus in the nail groove due to pressure from the nail plate in the sulcus.

Onychophosis is a condition that affects the toenails and is characterized by the formation of a thickened, corn-like mass of hardened skin around the edges of the nail. It is also referred to as a “nail corn” or “nail callus.” Onychophosis typically occurs on the outer edges or corners of the toenails and can cause discomfort or pain. Here are some key points about onychophosis:


  1. Pressure or friction: Onychophosis is often caused by repetitive pressure or friction on the affected area of the toenail. This can be due to ill-fitting shoes, abnormal foot mechanics, or excessive rubbing of the toes against the inside of the shoe.
  2. Ingrown toenails: Onychophosis can develop as a result of an ingrown toenail, where the nail grows into the surrounding skin and causes irritation and thickening of the tissue.
  3. Foot deformities: Certain foot deformities, such as hammertoes or bunions, can increase the risk of developing onychophosis due to the misalignment of the toes and increased pressure on specific areas of the toenails.


  1. Thickened and hardened skin around the edges of the toenail.
  2. Discomfort or pain when pressure is applied to the affected area.
  3. Formation of a corn-like mass that may appear yellowish or whitish in color.
  4. Potential redness or inflammation of the surrounding skin if there is ongoing irritation or pressure.


  1. Proper footwear: Wearing shoes that provide enough room for the toes and do not exert excessive pressure on the toenails can help reduce friction and prevent further development of onychophosis.
  2. Trimming and filing: Regularly trimming and filing the affected toenails can help reduce sharp edges and relieve pressure on the surrounding skin. It is important to avoid cutting the nails too short or rounding the corners, as this can increase the risk of ingrown toenails.
  3. Padding and cushioning: Applying protective padding or using specialized orthotic devices can help alleviate pressure on the affected area and provide relief.
  4. Professional care: If onychophosis causes significant discomfort or becomes recurrent, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a podiatrist or foot specialist. They can provide appropriate treatment, such as debriding the thickened skin, addressing underlying foot deformities, or providing guidance on proper foot care.
  5. Avoid self-treatment: It is generally not recommended to attempt self-removal of onychophosis, as this can lead to further complications or infection.

If you are experiencing persistent pain, signs of infection, or if home care measures do not provide relief, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and guidance on appropriate treatment options.


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