image courtesy the primary care dermatology society

Paronychia is an infection of the skin around the nail of at least one finger or toe. It typically develops around the edges of the nail at the bottom or sides. This skin infection causes inflammation, swelling, and discomfort around the nail. Abscesses containing pus can also form.

Paronychia symptoms include:

a. swelling, tenderness, and redness around the nail
b. puss-filled abscesses
c. hardening of the nail
d. deformation or damage to the nail
e. the nail separating from the nailbed

Treatments for paronychia will vary, depending on the severity and whether it is chronic or acute.

A person with mild, acute paronychia can try soaking the affected finger or toe in warm water three to four times a day. If symptoms do not improve, seek further treatment.

When a bacterial infection causes acute paronychia, a doctor may recommend an antibiotic, such as dicloxacillin or clindamycin.

When a fungal infection causes chronic paronychia, a doctor will prescribe an antifungal medication. These medications are topical and typically include clotrimazole or ketoconazole. Chronic paronychia may require weeks or months of treatment. It is important to keep the hands dry and clean throughout. If a person’s job requires their hands to be wet or exposed to germs, they may need to take time off. A doctor may also need to drain any pus from surrounding abscesses. To do this, they will provide a local anesthetic, then open the nail fold enough to insert gauze, which will help drain the pus.

Source: MNT

  1. December 31, 2018

    Paronychia is an ugly nail disease that is of bacterial or fungal origin. It is an infection of the hand or foot where the nail and skin meet at the side or the base of a finger or toenail. The infection can start suddenly (called acute paronychia) or gradually (chronic paronychia).

  2. January 25, 2019

    Amazing write-up with lots of information! Paronychia is an infection of the skin around your fingernails and toenails. Bacteria and yeast can even combine in one infection. Depending on the cause of the infection, paronychia may come on slowly and last for weeks or show up suddenly and last for only one or two days. Thanks and good luck!

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