Acute paronychia

This article is about the nail disease. For the genus of plants, see Paronychia (plant).
Not to be confused with whitlow.
Paronychia
Classification and external resources
10 9 DiseasesDB MedlinePlus eMedicine MeSH D010304

A paronychia (/ˌpærəˈnɪkiə/; Greek: παρονυχία: para-, around, onukh-, nail) is a nail disease that is an often-tender bacterial or fungal 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 (acute paronychia) or gradually (chronic paronychia).[1][2] Paronychia is commonly misapplied as a synonym for whitlow or felon.

Types


Paronychia may be divided as follows:[3]

  • Acute paronychia is an infection of the folds of tissue surrounding the nail of a finger or, less commonly, a toe, lasting less than six weeks.[2] The infection generally starts in the paronychium at the side of the nail, with local redness, swelling, and pain.[4]:660 Acute paronychia is usually caused by direct or indirect trauma to the cuticle or nail fold, and may be from relatively minor events, such as dishwashing, an injury from a splinter or thorn, nail biting, biting or picking at a hangnail, finger sucking, an ingrown nail, or manicure procedures.[5]:339. When no pus is present, warm soaks for acute paronychia is reasonable, even though there is a lack of evidence to support its use.[6] Antibiotics such as clindamycin or cephalexin are also often used, the first being more effective in areas where MRSA is common.[6] If there are signs of an abscess (the presence of pus) drainage is recommended.[6]
  • Chronic paronychia is an infection of the folds of tissue surrounding the nail of a finger or, less commonly, a toe, lasting more than six weeks.[2]:1113 It is a nail disease prevalent in individuals whose hands or feet are subject to moist local environments, and is often due to contact dermatitis.[4]:660 In chronic paronychia, the cuticle separates from the nail plate, leaving the region between the proximal nail fold and the nail plate vulnerable to infection.[7]:343 It can be the result of dish washing, finger sucking, aggressively trimming the cuticles, or frequent contact with chemicals (mild alkalis, acids, etc.). Chronic paronychia is treated by avoiding whatever is causing it, a topical antifungal, and a topical steroid.[8] In those who do not improve following these measures oral antifungals and steroids may be used or the nail fold may be removed surgically.[8]

Alternatively, paronychia may be divided as follows:[4]

  • Candidal paronychia is an inflammation of the nail fold produced by Candida albicans.[3]:310
  • Pyogenic paronychia is an inflammation of the folds of skin surrounding the nail caused by bacteria.[3]:254 Generally acute paronychia is a pyogenic paronychia as it is usually caused by a bacterial infection.[2]:1115

Signs and symptoms

The skin typically presents as red and hot. These infections can be painful.

Pus is usually present, along with gradual thickening and browning discoloration of the nail plate.

Acute paronychia is usually caused by bacteria. Claims have also been made that the popular acne medication, isotretinoin, has caused paronychia to develop in patients. Paronychia is often treated with antibiotics, either topical or oral. Chronic paronychia is most often caused by a yeast infection of the soft tissues around the nail but can also be traced to a bacterial infection. If the infection is continuous, the cause is often fungal and needs antifungal cream or paint to be treated.[9]

Cause

Risk factors include repeatedly washing hands and trauma to the cuticle such as from biting.

Herpes whitlows are frequently found among dentists and dental hygienists.[10] Prosector's paronychia is a primary inoculation of tuberculosis of the skin and nails, named after its association with prosectors, who prepare specimens for dissection. Paronychia around the entire nail is sometimes referred to as runaround paronychia.

Painful paronychia in association with a scaly, erythematous, keratotic rash (papules and plaques) of the ears, nose, fingers, and toes, may be indicative of acrokeratosis paraneoplastica, which is associated with squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx.[11]

Paronychia can occur with diabetes, drug-induced immunosuppression,[12] or systemic diseases such as pemphigus.[13]

Treatment

When no pus is present warm soaks for acute paronychia is reasonable, even though there is a lack of evidence to support its use.[6] Antibiotics such as clindamycin or cephalexin are also often used, the first being more effective in areas where MRSA is common.[6] If there are signs of an abscess (the presence of pus) drainage is recommended.[6]

Chronic paronychia is treated by avoiding whatever is causing it, a topical antifungal, and a topical steroid.[8] In those who do not improve following these measures oral antifungals and steroids may be used or the nail fold may be removed surgically.[8]

References

External links

  • "What Is The Best Way To Treat Paronychias?, Roundtable discussion in Podiatry Today, Volume 15 - Issue 3, March 2002, pp. 58–60.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.