Onychauxis is a condition marked by a thickening of the nails. It is observed both in nails of the fingers and the toes. The disease is more common in older people than younger clients.
The nail is usually thicker in appearance and white or yellowish in colour. In some patients the nail edges crumble and fall apart. Thickened toenails are often associated with the growth of a fungal infection and in many cases this assumption is correct, however, there are other reasons for thickened and distorted toenails.
Injury to the root of the nail can cause temporary thickening, while severe or repeated injury (i.e. from sports shoes/work boots) can permanently damage and distort a nail.
Other causes of alteration to the appearance of the nails include conditions such as Psoriasis, poor circulation and systemic diseases of the body such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. However as a normal part of the ageing process our nails have a tendency to thicken as they grow.
The most common problem associated with thickened nails is, pain and discomfort, when wearing socks and shoes. Due to the nature of the condition, cutting the nails in a uniformly and safe way becomes more difficult, due to increased thickening and rigidity of the nail plate.
If the nails are left untreated the condition can worsen, developing into a condition known as Onychogryphosis (also known as ‘Rams horn nails’) where the nail becomes permanently thickened and distorted resembling claws or a rams horns.