How to treat Paronychia

Paronychia is one of the most common infections of the hand. Clinically, paronychia presents as an acute or a chronic condition. It is a localized, superficial infection or abscess of the paronychial tissues of the hands or, less commonly, the feet. Any disruption of the seal between the proximal nail fold and the nail plate can cause acute infections of the eponychial space by providing a portal of entry for bacteria. Treatment options for acute paronychias include warm-water soaks, oral antibiotic therapy and surgical drainage. In cases of chronic paronychia, it is important that the patient avoid possible irritants. Treatment options include the use of topical antifungal agents and steroids, and surgical intervention. Patients with chronic paronychias that are unresponsive to therapy should be checked for unusual causes, such as malignancy. Paronychia is one of the most common infections of the hand. Paronychias are localized, superficial infections or abscesses of the perionychium (epidermis bordering the nails). Paronychial infections develop when a disruption occurs between the seal of the proximal nail fold and the nail plate that allows a portal of entry for invading organisms. Noninfectious causes of paronychia include contact irritants and excessive moisture. Clinically, paronychia presents as an acute or chronic (longer than six weeks’ duration) condition. People with occupations such as baker, bartender and dishwasher seem predisposed to developing chronic paronychia. Treatment may consist of warm-water soaks, antimicrobial therapy or surgical intervention.