Obscure Medical Terms: How Well Do You 'Speak Medicine'?

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


November 09, 2018

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Unguis incarnatus is the medical term for an ingrown toenail. Onychocryptosis, meaning "hidden nail," is another infrequently used term for this common condition.

Treatment consists of elevating the edge of the nail from the nail bed. If the nail is too ingrown to do this without pain, soaking the foot in warm water may soften the nail enough to allow elevation of the edge without much pain. However, a nail block may be needed. If surgery is needed, partial nail plate excision and curettage of the nail bed excision usually results in permanent relief of symptoms.[10] It is surprising that in mammals ranging in size from a rat to an elephant, toenail growth rate is about the same.[11]


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