Onychophosis is probably one of the most common painful conditions that affects the toenails. It is most commonly described as “the side of the toenail hurts, but its not ingrown“. Onychophosis is the development of a corn or callus in the nail groove as a result of pressure between a curved nail plate and the nail groove. It commonly get wrongly called an “ingrown” toenail, when its not actually ingrown, but is just as painful.
A corn or callus will develop anywhere where there is too much pressure on the skin. This could be on the bottom of the foot (ie a plantar callus) or it could be on the top of a hammer toe (ie a corn) or it could be between the nail plate and nail groove (ie onychophosis). The skin thickens up to protect itself, but becomes so thick that it becomes painful.
‘Onycho-‘ meaning nail and ‘-phosis’ means a pathological condition, so onychophosis is a pathological condition of the toenail.