Paronychia- Occurrence and Treatment - Dream Health

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Saturday 1 May 2021

Paronychia- Occurrence and Treatment

Paronychia- Occurrence and Treatment

The human body is subject to infections at any point, and it is not only a few organs that are confined to it. Even Toe- Nails and fingernails are prone to it. When a condition occurs in the fingernail folds, the lateral toenail or the proximate area it is known as Paronychia.

The occurrence of it may be due to trauma or manipulation and sometimes even spontaneously. It is indeed not a rare infection and can happen to anybody, although it is imperative to treat it immediately.

Who are the common victims of Paronychia?

The infection is most familiar with housemaids and homemakers. It is bound to reoccur for them, and thus they are subject to Chronic. There exists a protective barrier between the nail and its fold.

With the barrier disrupted, bacteria are allowed to flow in and cause the infection. Although Acute Paronychia affects only one nail, drug inductions may affect several nails.

Women are subject to it compared to men in the ratio 3: 1. The reason is that women, while engaging in housework, tend to have their hands and feet submerged in water. It can be classified into two; Acute & Chronic.

Acute Paronychia: The characteristics of it are

  • It does not last more than six weeks
  • The pain is indeed severe with the wound oozing liquids that look milky. Oozing denotes or confirms an infection.
  • Bacteria are the primary reason for it.

Chronic Paronychia:

  • These arise primarily due to fungal infections like Candida species.
  • Occupational hazards such as housekeeping, side effects of certain medications like the one’s meant for diabetes or HIV positive).

What would happen if it is left untreated?

Can it heal on its own?

There are chances for it to self-heal and the infection to disappear on its own. But the limit is a week only. If there are no signs of it fading away, it's best to consult a doctor.

The call to the doctor wound becomes mandatory if you observe an abscess's formation (which is the area filled with pus under your nail). The other confirmation that it would never heal on its own is when you notice the infection has started affecting areas beyond the nail.

To summarize, we have observed that it is an infection that affects your skin, especially in areas surrounding your toe and fingernails.

Symptoms are easy to spot, and early treatment melts the problem away successfully.

Here are the symptoms:

The difference between Acute and Chronic is determinable by the length of time it takes to heal. However, both share the same common symptoms.

  • Blister formations with pus in them
  • The skin turns tender and red around the nail area
  • Abnormal changes to the existing nail shapes apart from its texture and colour
  • Total detachment of the nail itself

The Various reasons for it to arise are:

  • Consistent chewing/biting of your nails
  • Nail cutters used to clip the nails to the shortest extent possible
  • Manicuring them in a way that causes infections to arise
  • Nails that grow within
  • Continuous exposure of hands to moisture externally.
  • Sucking the finger excessively.

Preventive measures to adopt from being affected with it:

  • It is best to clean your hands and feet regularly and keep them dry
  • Be extremely careful when you manicure your nails
  • Biting, chewing of nails and the areas that surround them

In case you need to wash utensils or mop the house, wear a rubber glove with an absorbent cotton lining, thus preventing direct exposure to harmful chemicals.


It may have similar symptoms but vary in their severity. It is the severity that leads to the classification of Acute or Chronic, and how to treat Paronychia is described below:

Treatment of Acute:

  • Place the affected finger or toe inside warm water. Soak them at least four times a day.
  • In case of a bacterial infection which has to lead to acute, it's best to consult the doctor who could recommend antibiotics. The antibiotic could be
  • Clindamycin or
  • Dicloxacillin.

Treatment of Chronic:

  • It is fungal infections that cause Chronic, and it is advisable to consult a doctor. You would be prescribed anti-fungal medication, which could be
  • Ketoconazole or
  • Clotrimazole

As the treatment may extend beyond a month, it is essential the infected person needs to keep their hands and feet clean and in total dryness. In case the patient has to engage every day by coming in contact with chemicals or water, it would be best to take off time from work till the infection subsides. 


Treatment could involve removing the puss from the abscesses. The procedure involved would be to provide

  • Anastasia (local)
  • Insert the gauze once the nail- fold is opened
  • Drain the pus.

These are the various treatments available to cure it.


By now, you know that it is the infection in your toe or fingernail areas that leads to multiple issues of inflammation, acute pain, discomfiture, and swellings.

The most common reasons for one to get infected with it are constant nail-biting and chewing.

It is a fact that Acute does develop rapidly. Timely observation of symptoms can also help cure it faster.

On the other hand, Chronic sets in at a slower pace, and the treatment is a prolonged one before the symptoms gradually disappear after a month or so.

To avoid Paronychia, it is best to adopt preventive measures, as indicated above.

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