Onychogryphosis Definition

Onychogryphosis is characterized by thickening and curving of the nails in the finger or toe due to injuries or infection. The term Onychogryphosis has been in use since the 19th century.

The condition is also known by other names like “Claw Nail” and “Ram’s Horn Nails”. This is because the disease causes the nails to curve and resemble the shape of a claw or the horn of a ram.

Where Is Onychogryphosis Found?

Onychogryphosis affects the nails in the fingers or the toe. In most people, it usually affects the nail of the big toe.

Onychogryphosis Symptoms

Nail thickening

The nails of the fingers or the toe get unusually thickened and become difficult to trim properly.

Nail curving

One or more nails may get curved to appear like a claw-like appearance. In severe cases, these can take a curved hook shape to look just like black horns of a ram.

Onychogryphosis Causes

A number of factors can act as causes of Onychogryphosis. These are


Injuries in the area surrounding the fingers can give rise to Onychogryphosis. Frequently, dropping heavy objects over the toe or striking the toe with a hard surface leads to this problem. Footballers are at high risk from the condition.

Intense pressure

Very tight footwear can bring the fingers together and constrict them. Ill-fitting or compact shoes can give rise to this problem.

Poor posture

Unusual position of foot for a long time may also give rise to structural abnormalities and lead to the development of this disease.


Fungal infection of the foot can be a cause of Onychogryphosis in some individuals.


Individuals with Diabetes Mellitus are often seen to suffer from this disorder.

Poor circulation

The disease can also affect people who suffer from inadequate supply of blood to the hands or feet.

Poor nutrition

Lack of proper nutrition resulting from a faulty diet can also be a reason for this condition.

Onychogryphosis can also result from other conditions like Psoriasis, Epidermal Dysplasia and Ichthyosis Hystrix.

Onychogryphosis Diagnosis

Onychogryphosis is usually detected by physical observation. The sight of a thickened, claw-shaped curved nail is generally enough for a medical professional to diagnose the condition.

In some cases, Histopathology or microscopic study of tissues is required. This is usually done by biopsy of skin around the nails or amputation of the third bone of the finger or the toe. A Glucose Tolerance Test may also be carried out to check whether the sufferer is having Diabetes Mellitus.

Onychogryphosis Treatment

Onychogryphosis treatment usually involves correcting the abnormal condition of the affected nail. This can be done either by cutting or filing the nail or removing it in entirety by surgical means and local analgesic. This can be quite disheartening for some people. But applying polish on the nail bed can make it look normal from a distance. Unless it is seen closely, no one will be able to tell the difference.

The germinal matrix needs to be completely destroyed to prevent the regeneration of the damaged nail. Non-removal of the nail bed will make small spikes or growing nail pop out across the old nail surface.

Onychogryphosis Home Remedies

Onychogryphosis cure at home can be done by

Proper nail trimming

Nails should be trimmed in a proper way. Correct trimming can keep symptoms like thickness of nails at bay. The thickened part may be trimmed away.

Change of shoes

If Onychogryphosis is found to result from tight footwear, changing it can help you prevent further complications if not the disease itself.

Onychogryphosis Prognosis

Onychogryphosis is curable but the treatment takes some time to be effective. In some cases, treatment needs to be continued for 3 months. It can also extend up to a year and a half in some cases. The reason for this prolonged treatment is that the affected nail takes some time to be replaced by a new one.

Onychogryphosis Prevention

Onychogryphosis can be prevented by the following ways.


Keeping fingers and toes protected from injuries can help you avoid Onychogryphosis. The condition often affects toenails with trauma in their surrounding skin region.

Compact Footwear

As aforesaid, tight footwear can put intense pressure on the toenails and give rise to Onychogryphosis. It is better to wear light footwear that allows ample space to the toenails.

Nail Polish

It is not a good idea to wear nail polish at all times. Nail polish traps moisture under nail and creates a damp environment ideal for fungal growth. Remove nail polish as soon as its purpose ends. This will help you avoid a fungal infection of the nails.

Is Onychogryphosis Contagious?

Onychogryphosis is not contagious. It is not transmitted from one person to another.

Onychogryphosis Pictures

Want to know how Onychogryphosis nails look like? Check out these Onychogryphosis images and find out how Onychogryphosis toenails and fingernails appear.

Images of Onychogryphosis

Picture 1 – Onychogryphosis

Photos of Onychogryphosis

Picture 2 – Onychogryphosis

Pictures of Onychogryphosis

Picture 3 – Onychogryphosis

Onychogryphosis Picture

Picture 4 – Onychogryphosis

If you are having Onychogryphosis or have someone affected by it in your family, you should get in touch with a good doctor and seek professional medical attention. Timely treatment will help you get rid of the condition more quickly and with minimal complications.









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