Disease at a Glance

Summary
Pachyonychia congenita (PC) is a rare inherited condition that primarily affects the nails and skin. The fingernails and toenails may be thickened and abnormally shaped. Affected people can also develop painful calluses and blisters on the soles of their feet and less frequently on the palms of their hands (palmoplantar keratoderma). Additional features include white patches on the tongue and inside of the mouth (leukokeratosis); bumps around the elbows, knees, and waistline (follicular hyperkeratosis); and cysts of various types including steatocystoma. Features may vary among affected people depending on their specific genetic change. PC is divided into 5 types based on the specific keratin gene involved: PC-K6a, PC-K6b, PC-K6c, PC-K16, and PC-K17. All forms are inherited in an autosomal dominant manner.
Estimated Number of People with this Disease

This section is currently in development.

What Information Does GARD Have For This Disease?

Many rare diseases have limited information. Currently GARD is able to provide the following information for this disease:

*Data may be currently unavailable to GARD at this time.
When do symptoms of this disease begin?
The most common ages for symptoms of a disease to begin is called age of onset. Age of onset can vary for different diseases and may be used by a doctor to determine the diagnosis. For some diseases, symptoms may begin in a single age range or several age ranges. For other diseases, symptoms may begin any time during a person's life.
Prenatal Selected
Before Birth
Newborn Selected
Birth-4 weeks
Infant Selected
1-23 months
Child Selected
2-11 years
Adolescent Selected
12-18 years
Adult Selected
19-65 years
Older Adult Selected
65+ years
The common ages for symptoms to begin in this disease are shown above by the colored icon(s).

Symptoms

These symptoms may be different from person to person. Some people may have more symptoms than others and symptoms can range from mild to severe. This list does not include every symptom.
This disease might cause these symptoms:
Musculoskeletal System

25 Symptoms

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Musculoskeletal System

Musculoskeletal System

The musculoskeletal system is made up of the bones, muscles, and joints. Common symptoms of problems in the musculoskeletal system include pain, weakness, stiffness, noises in the joints, inflammation, and decreased range of motion. Diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system may be diagnosed and treated by an orthopedist, rheumatologist, or neuromuscular specialist.

Causes

Genetic Disease

Pachyonychia congenita is a genetic disease, which means that it is caused by one or more genes not working correctly.

Disease causing variants in the following gene(s) are known to cause this disease: KRT16, KRT17, KRT6A, KRT6B

Questions:

Inheritance

All individuals inherit two copies of most genes. The number of copies of a gene that need to have a disease-causing variant affects the way a disease is inherited. This disease is inherited in the following pattern(s):

Questions:

Next Steps

Talking with the Medical Team

Good communication between the patient, family, and medical team can lead to an accurate diagnosis. In addition, health care decisions can be made together which improves the patient’s well-being and quality of life.

Describing Symptoms

Describe details about the symptoms. Because there may be many different causes for a single symptom, it is best not to make a conclusion about the diagnosis. The detailed descriptions help the medical provider determine the correct diagnosis.

To help describe a symptom:

  • Use a smartphone or a notebook to record each symptom before the appointment
  • Describe each symptom by answering the following questions:
    • When did the symptom start?
    • How often does it happen?
    • Does anything make it better or worse?
  • Tell the medical team whether any symptoms affect daily activities

Preparing for the First Visit

Working with a medical team to find a diagnosis can be a long process that will require more than one appointment. Make better health decisions by being prepared for the first visit with each member of the medical team.

    Make informed decisions about health care: 
    • Prepare a list of questions and concerns before the appointment
    • List the most important questions first, not all questions may be answered in the first visit
    • Ask questions about symptoms, possible diagnoses, tests, and treatment options
    For future appointments:
    • Discuss what was not addressed at the last visit
    • Discuss changes in the quality of life for the patient, family, and caregivers
    • Discuss health goals and other issues in the patient’s and family’s life that may affect the health care decisions
    Take notes during the appointments to help remember what was discussed.

    Last Updated: Nov. 8, 2021