Paronychia: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

It is a disease caused by an infection in the soft tissues located in the folds around the nails of the hands or feet.

Generally, it can cause redness and inflammation in the region, which can be painful.

Types of Paronychia

Two types of Paronychia have been reported:

  • Acute Paronychia: It usually occurs in the soft tissues located on the sides of the nail of the toes and the fingers of the hand.
  • Chronic Paronychia mainly affects people who constantly expose their hands and feet to humid environments. The infection can also arise from contact dermatitis.


The leading causes of Paronychia involve damage to the nails from exposure to water or aggressive chemicals for long periods.

When people have the terrible habit of biting their nails or part of the skin around the nail.

It can also be caused by excessive clipping of the nail cuticle.

Chronic Paronychia can be caused by irritant dermatitis, which causes redness and itchy skin.


Once the skin is irritated, the germs can take control and cause an infection.

People with diabetes can suffer more easily from Paronychia; it is often seen as a causative factor in these patients.

Patients who have problems with the immune system, such as patients undergoing organ transplants or infected with HIV, also have a higher risk of suffering from Paronychia.

The Paronychia of the nail can result from an infection caused by bacteria or an infection caused by fungi such as candida.


Some of the main symptoms are:


In the area around the nail, there is a red area around the pins of the feet and hands.


The infection is caused by inflammation, which is shown in the cuticle.


One of the most acute symptoms of Paronychia is pain.


The infection can cause pus-filled blisters (abscesses) in the affected area.

Changes in the nails:

The infection can also cause changes in the shape (thick, complex, and deformed) and color of the nails where the lesion occurs.

In some cases, it can cause fever, chills, joint pain, muscle pain, and red spots all over the skin.

Chronic Paronychia can cause the decomposition of the cuticle.

This type of Paronychia can eventually cause the nail to detach from the skin.

When caused by bacteria, Paronychia can rapidly become severe, whereas Paronychia caused by fungi usually worsens more gradually.


Paronychia can be diagnosed with a simple physical examination.

Generally, special tests are not required, but the doctor may recommend sending a sample of the contents of the ampoules to the laboratory to identify the bacteria or fungi that are causing the infection.


Treatment for acute Paronychia:

In cases of acute Paronychia, the skin around the cuticle becomes sensitive, and pockets of pus appear under the nail.

These bags become very painful; the pus drains, and the pain is relieved when they break.

In these cases, the pus should be prevented from spreading to other nails.

It is recommended to thoroughly wash the wound on the hand or foot with warm water and soap immediately and apply hydrogen peroxide to the area.

Keep the wound clean and dry, use the peroxide daily, and the infection will disappear in about two weeks.

Home remedies can treat Paronychia by soaking the hands or feet in a solution of a quarter of a liter of apple cider vinegar with warm water for 30 minutes.

Add two drops of oil of oregano (an antifungal agent) and a drop of olive oil and apply to the infected area daily for two weeks to eliminate pathogens and prevent Paronychia from spreading.

Treatment for chronic Paronychia:

In cases of chronic Paronychia, the condition may progress for several weeks, the nail may discolor and become very thick, and the surface may become very rough.

The infection can extend from the nail to the finger.

Swelling occurs, and the toe or toe usually becomes immobilized.

The doctor should be consulted to recommend a treatment.

In the most severe cases, an abscess will form that must be treated.

Depending on the causative agent, the doctor will prescribe medication and cream with antibiotics (bacteria) and antifungals (fungi).