What is Paronychia

Paronychia is an infection around a nailbed of a finger or toe. The infection is in the skin around the nail and takes up to six months to heal. The infection isn’t with the nail at all, and cutting the nail could actually hinder its healing. They may return depending on the cause of the infection. The causes may include a bacteria or a fungus. Fungus infections come from yeast or fungus, and the bacteria infections come from an injury to the hand or foot. Paronychia is common among nail biters or thumb suckers. Be sure to check your hands and feet often to check for redness and for swelling. Your toes especially may begin showing signs of paronychia before you experience enough pain to look.

Symptoms of Paronychia
Pain and tenderness around the nail
Warmth and itching of the skin
Possibly pus-filled skin

Pus infections will need an antibiotic to heal and a doctor to drain the infection in the nailbed area. Do not attempt to drain the infection yourself or attempt any other self care on pus filled infected nails.

Self Care for Paronychia
� Use Tylenol for the pain and fever
� Soak the nail in warm water six times a day for up to 20 minutes a time, for an entire week.
âÂ?¢ Don’t cut your nails too short, or cut and pull hangnails
� Elevate the hand or foot to relieve swelling
� Keep any bandages dry. Soak your nail between fresh bandage applications.
� Protect the nail. Keep irritation to a minimum by wearing gloves and socks.

Paronychia usually corrects itself within 5-10 of self care treatment. In rare instances, paronychia will worsen into a bone infection called osteomyelitis in the finger or toe. The nail will return to normal in a few weeks, there is rarely any lasting damage to the finger or toe nail.

Call your doctor if the pain is severe or continuing without cessation, if you develop a high fever, if the swelling worsens, if there is joint or muscle pain or weakness, or if there are red streaks coming from the infected area. If you are experiencing paronychia and you have the condition diabetes, call your medical provider immediately. No one with diabetes should self treat this condition as it may signal a worsening illness. Seek a doctor if any of these conditions applies to you.

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