Diseases of the Foot
Thick Crusty Nails of Ram's Horn (Onychogryphosis)

A thickened nail is difficult to cut and so is allowed to grow becoming molded by the shoe. Trauma may be the initiating factor and accounts for the term Ostler's nail in Europe. There is also gross deformity of the nail, which develops into a curved ram's horn shape. This spiral-like appearance results from uneven development of the nail, its growth having become slower on one side than on the other. There is usually some degree of discoloration.

Commonly only the great toenail is affected since from its size and prominence it is the one most prone to injury but the condition may also arise in other toes. By far common cause of this condition is trauma arising from a heavy blow or a severe stabbing of the toe and it is sometimes due to the omission of regular trimming and the consequence, increasing impaction from footwear against the lengthening nail.

This may cause the nails to edge and penetrate the soft tissue of the affected and perhaps also the adjacent toe causing a corn to develop.

A normal pair of scissors cannot and should not be attempted to be used to cut such thick nail. Neither should you use broken bottle, razor blades, knifes or saw. It is recommended that you use a simple emery board to file down the nail. It is much safer especially if a Chiropodist/Podiatrist is available. These specialists will have the right tools to do a safe job.