Pterygium Nail: Signs, Causes & Treatments

There are a few nail and skin disorders which can damage the nails to a great extent. These diseases and disorders hamper the health of the nails and make them look uglier. We should take good care of the nails whenever we encounter any nail disease that seems to be severe.

Such kind of nail disease which should be addressed and treated as soon as you see any symptoms that refer to nail pterygium. To fight this disease, you must know what are the signs of getting it and how to treat this nail disease.


What Is Pterygium Nail?

When the proximal nail fold overgrows and invades the nail bed, there arises a nail disorder which is termed as pterygium of the nail. This disorder refers to the unexpected penetration of nail fold into the nail bed. The origin of this disorder is the matrix of the nails.

If there is any scar tissue available in the matrix, The skin of the specific site of the matrix starts to grow outward pressing the skin of the nail bed.

This forms a triangular-shaped structure which is then called pterygium. There are two types of pterygium; dorsal pterygium and ventral pterygium.

1. Dorsal Pterygium

Dorsal Nail Pterygium

Dorsal Pterygium affects the upper part of the nails. The forward growth of the proximal nail fold gets blended with the matrix that is underneath the nail bed. As a result, it creates 2 lateral segments on the nail bed dividing the nail plate.

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2. Ventral Pterygium

Ventral Pterygium of Nail

This occurs on the undersurface of the nail plate. Ventral pterygium refers to the condition when the hyponychium moves away from its point of attachment to the nail and finally damages the distal nail groove.


The Causes: Why You Get It

  • Among the two sorts of pterygium, Dorsal pterygium is the most common. If the proximal nail fold faces with any abnormalities, accidents or injuries it may result in dorsal pterygium.
    Besides, Raynaud’s syndrome, lichen planus, trauma, GVHD (graft-versus-host-disease), TEN (toxic epidermal necrolysis), cicatricial pemphigoid etc nail and skin disorder may also cause dorsal pterygium of the nail.
  • Ventral pterygium mainly occurs due to the fault in systemic connective tissue. If any scar is produced in the area of distal nail groove, it will eventually turn into ventral nail pterygium. This disease is sometimes genetic too.

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Treatment of Pterygium Nail

Pterygium of the nails should be taken into account at the initial stage. If the disease goes to the advanced level, it may end up compromising the whole nail. Because the patron of severe pterygium must undergo a surgery where the affected nails need to be removed.

Though the primary stage can be cured with proper medication. The treatment includes topical steroids which actually look like lotions or creams. These anti-inflammatory medications can heal nail pterygium greatly.

Sometimes, a cortisone injection is pushed at the matrix of the nail as the final non-surgical treatment. This is very painful for the patient.


Pterygium Remover Nail Care

Pterygium Remover Nail Care

There are some tools available in the marketplaces which are considered as Pterygium remover nail care. Though these tools are not much effective. We are introducing it just to satisfy your curiosity.

This tools can work as both a cuticles pusher and pterygium remover. It can effectively push back the cuticles but it actually can do a little to remove the pterygium. But, you can clean the nail by using this tool, that’s for sure.

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How To Prevent Pterygium Nail

How To Prevent Pterygium Nail

Unfortunately, pterygium is often the result of trauma, dermatoses affecting the nail matrix, graft versus host disease, or autoimmune bullous disorders. Because of this, it can be challenging to prevent.

It would be best to avoid injuring your nails, but that’s not always possible because accidents do happen. As for underlying health issues, they should be treated immediately to avoid escalating into a condition like a pterygium of the nail.

While there are treatments for the disorder, a doctor may diagnose the condition as irreversible due to the difficulty of applying treatment.  



Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding pterygium nails.

Is Pterygium Nail Contagious?

Pterygium itself is not contagious. The disorder is genetic or a result of other trauma or other conditions. Because of this, you can’t give it to someone else. 


What type of infection is nail pterygium?

Nail pterygium is not an infection. Instead, it’s a disorder where trauma or some other disease has occurred to the nail matrix and is causing an overgrowth of the proximal nail fold into the nail bed.

It can be caused by other underlying issues, but the disorder itself is not considered an infection.


Can trauma cause nail pterygium?

Yes. Trauma is one of the most common causes of nail pterygium. This trauma occurs when damage is caused to the nail matrix, and the nail doesn’t grow back in correctly.


Is pterygium nail carcinogenic?

Nail pterygium is not a condition associated with cancer. But if you are exhibiting any unusual growth or signs of a nail disorder, you should see a doctor. Only a doctor can determine a medical diagnosis.


How much can it cost to remove nail pterygium?

The costs to remove a nail pterygium vary, with the surgery to repair the nail bed known as split nail repair. This is considered an advanced surgery that most surgeons aren’t eager to perform because of the recovery period and overall inexperience with the procedure.

It was difficult to find exact costs and you may need to consult with your insurance company or doctor’s office to find out what the costs would be. 

Typical toenail removal can cost anywhere from $200 to $1000 without insurance. With insurance, it can cost about $50. Other toe surgeries are in a similar price range, so split nail repair may be near or more than this estimate. 


Nail is an important part of our body. They can be a great nuisance if not taken care of properly.

Moreover, this nail disease is so painful and can turn into a serious thing in the long run. So, no more negligence. Consult a doctor if you are having pterygium nails.

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