Last reviewed 11/2022
Paronychia is inflammation involving the folds of tissue around the finger nail or toe nail (1):
- disruption of the seal (the cuticle) between the proximal nail fold and the nail plate allows an entrance to the invading organism (1,2)
- pus accumulates between the cuticle and the nail matrix. The area may be swollen, red and tender.
It is the commonest type of hand infection, accounting for about a third of Accident & Emergency hand infections, most progressing to some form of surgical intervention.
Infection involving the eponychium is termed eponychia; extension of infection from one lateral fold to the other is termed a run-around abscess.
Non infectious causes include contact irritants and excessive moisture (2).
Clinically, paronychia can be divided into:
- acute paronychia
- chronic paronychia (1)