Nail Care

What is Onychatrophia?

Onychatrophia is a condition where a fully grown nailloses its shine, shrinks in size, and falls away. This wasting away of the nail is also known as atrophy. Onychatrophia can be caused by damage to the nail matrix, from injury or other reasons. Internal diseases can also cause onychatrophia.

Symptoms of Onychatrophia:

  • Shrinkage of the nail
  • Distorted shape of the nail
  • Nail detachment
  • Discoloration
  • Formation of pus

Onychatrophia can affect fingernailsand toenails. It involves partial or total shrinkage of the nail. If this condition is caused by an underlying disease, treating the disease can help in the re-growth of the nail.


Onychatrophia or nail atrophy can be caused due to the following:

  • Psoriasis
  • Lichen planus
  • Fungal nail infection
  • Bacterial nail infection
  • Skin diseases
  • Epidermolysisbullosadystrophica

Onychatrophia can be caused by skin disease, nail disease, or other underlying diseases. Onychatrophia should not be confused with anonychia which is a result of  congenital disorders, where the nail does not develop to its full extent.


If you have nail shrinkage, consult a dermatologist immediately, because it can be a sign of other underlying diseases. Your doctor can take a culture or conduct tests to diagnose the problem and properly treat it. Early treatment can ensure quicker recovery of the nail problem.

Onychatrophia can be an indication of a fungal or bacterial infection, skin disease, or other health problem. Make sure you consult your doctor if you observe signs of nail shrinkage, atrophy, and nail distortion, followed by the nail falling off.

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