Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Fingernail Infection Overview

Another name for Fingernail Infection is Paronychia.

What is a paronychia?
A person with a paronychia has a bacterial infection of the skin next to a fingernail or toenail. A paronychia is caused by an infection with bacteria that are normally on the surface of the skin. The nail causes a small injury to the skin, and then the bacteria enter the tissue beneath the skin surface and start to grow. A paronychia is more common in those who have an ingrown fingernail or ingrown toenail.

What are the symptoms of a paronychia?
Symptoms of paronychia include finger pain or toe pain, as well as swelling, tenderness, and redness nest to the fingernail or toenail. In addition, pus may drain from the skin next to the nail.

How does the doctor treat a paronychia?
Treatment for paronychia may include warm soaks, antibiotics, and narcotic pain medications. A large paronychia may require incision and drainage, which is a procedure that releases the pus from within the paronychia.

Continue to Fingernail Infection Incidence

Last Updated: Jul 29, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Fingernail Infection References
  1. Daniel CR 3rd, Daniel MP, Daniel CM, Sullivan S, Ellis G. Chronic paronychia and onycholysis: a thirteen-year experience. Cutis. 1996 Dec;58(6):397-401. [8970776]
  2. Rockwell PG. Acute and chronic paronychia. Am Fam Physician. 2001 Mar 15;63(6):1113-6. [11277548]
  3. Tosti A, Piraccini BM, Ghetti E, Colombo MD. Topical steroids versus systemic antifungals in the treatment of chronic paronychia: an open, randomized double-blind and double dummy study. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Jul;47(1):73-6. [12077585]
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