▲ GENERAL INFORMATION
A paronychia is an infection around the fold of the
fingernail or toenail. It can be caused by aggressive
manicuring in this area. Also, bacteria can more easily
penetrate skin that is moist (and soapy) for long periods
(example: moist soapy hands inside kitchen gloves) or
hot and sweaty (example: feet inside tennis shoes in the
summer). Many times the cause is not obvious.
COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• Tenderness and swelling around the nail fold
• There may be pus in this area as well as under the
• The finger or toe can be moved without pain.
• There is no fever.
The area of the nail fold is red, swollen, and very tender
If it is caught early and no pus is present, it can be
treated as follows:
• Warm, moist packs as follows:
• Dissolve a teaspoon of ordinary salt in a quart of
warm (not hot) tap water.
• Place a clean washcloth in the solution, squeeze
out most of the moisture, and then wrap the cloth
around the finger or toe.
• Cover the entire hand (or toe) with a piece of
plastic (example: the plastic wrapper from the dry
cleaner will do).
• Cover all this with a dry face towel.
• Rest the hand or toe with all the towels wrapped
around it on a heating pad set on low.
• Do this for 20 to 30 minutes three times per day.
• As much as possible, keep the arm or leg elevated
on pillows so that it is higher than the heart.
If pus has already collected, it will have to be drained.
• This minor operation is done as an outpatient
• The entire finger or toe will be painted with an
• A very thin, short needle will be used to inject an
anesthetic into the nerve supplying the finger or toe.
The finger or toe will become numb.
• An incision will be made to release the pus and a
• The operation takes less than 30 minutes.
• Arrangements will be made for your return office
• You will be given a prescription for antibiotics.
• Over-the-counter pain medicine is adequate for any
✚ HOME CARE
• Resume your usual activities.
• You will be shown how to change the dressing as
• You may be asked to soak the finger as described
above to help with the healing.
• If you get the dressing wet, replace it with a clean,
✆ CALL OUR OFFICE IF
• Your finger swells and hurts as before.
• You develop a temperature higher than 1007F.
• You have any questions.