Onychophosis or an ingrown toenail?

Pain down the side of a toenail, especially on the hallux or big toe is common. Most people blame and ingrown toenail for that when in most cases it could be an onychophosis. This is a corn or callus that develops down the side of the nail in the nail grove. They are commonly mistaken for each other.

A true ingrown toenail occurs when the nail actually in grows and penetrates the skin. That hurts and often develops an infection. If a sharp edge of nail pushes on the skin, but has not penetrated it, then that is not quite and ingrown nail, but can still be painful and is sort of an ingrown nail. However, if the skin in the nail groove responds to the pressure from the nail and becomes thicker like a corn and callus do, then that is what gets called an onychophosis.

The treatment of onychophosis takes special skills to debride and remove that callus or corn down the side of the nail. The podiatrist will probably need special tools such as a scalpel and what is called a blacks file that is used to file away at the edge f the nail so that it does not push on the painful area. Long term there are minor surgical options that are similar to the procedures done for an ingrown toe nail.

If you have pain down the side or at the edge of a toenail, do not assume that it is an ingrown nail. There are other things such as an onychophosis that it could be.

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