Paronychia is an infection of the skin around the nails (cuticles). These infections are generally caused by bacteria and fungi. Paronychia usually does not cause dangerous complications, except in diabetics and people with weak immune systems.

Paronychia can appear quickly (acute) or in the long term (chronic). Acute paronychia usually occurs in the fingernails, while chronic paronychia can occur in the fingernails or toenails.

Causes of Paronychia

Acute paronychia is generally caused by Staphylococcus aureus or Staphylococcus enterococcus bacteria that enter the damaged nail skin due to the habit of biting nails or thumb sucking.

Meanwhile, chronic paronychia is more often caused by Candida fungal infections , although it can also be caused by bacteria. This type of paronychia is also more common due to the feet or hands being exposed to water too often, causing the nails to become more moist.

Faktor risiko paronykia

Paronychia can basically attack anyone. However, there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of experiencing paronychia, namely:

  • Having a profession where hands or feet are constantly exposed to water, such as fishing, milking, or dishwashing
  • Have open sores around your fingernails or toenails
  • Having a damp nail condition due to wearing fake nails
  • Experiencing cantengan
  • Have diabetes
  • Has a weak immune system
  • Suffering from psoriasis

Symptoms of paronychia

Symptoms of paronychia that can appear are generally the same, both acute and chronic. Symptoms may also last for a few days or a few weeks, depending on the type.

The following are symptoms or complaints that can arise as a result of paronychia:

  • Pain when the nail or the skin around the infected nail is touched
  • Swelling of the skin around the infected nail
  • Redness and warmth in the skin around the infected nail

In some cases, symptoms of paronychia in the form of an abscess (collection of pus) may appear on the infected skin under the nail. Apart from that, paronychia can also make the nails fall off and grow back in an abnormal shape.

Paronychia that has caused an abscess needs to be treated by a doctor immediately, especially if it is accompanied by fever.

When to see a doctor

Check with your doctor  if you experience any of the above symptoms, especially if you have diabetes or have a weak immune system. Early examination is needed to prevent serious complications.

Immediately see a doctor if the symptoms that appear are severe and do not go away for several days. You also need to see a doctor immediately if symptoms reappear after being given treatment.

Diagnosis Paronychia

To make a diagnosis, the doctor will ask about the patient's symptoms and medical history. After that, the doctor will do an examination to see more clearly the infection that occurs in the nail area.

These steps are generally sufficient to diagnose paronychia. However, in some cases, the doctor may take a sample of the pus from the infected area. The pus sample will then be examined in the laboratory so that the cause of the infection can be determined. That way, patients can get the right treatment.

Paronychia Treatment

Paronychia treatment aims to relieve complaints, address the causes, prevent recurrence in the future, and prevent complications. In mild paronychia, treatment can be done independently, for example by:

  • Clean infected feet or hands with water and antibacterial soap regularly.
  • Soak the infected foot or hand in warm water for 15–20 minutes 3 to 5 times a day.
  • Keep your feet moist and dry, and don't wear shoes or socks that are too tight and narrow.
  • Choose footwear that is comfortable and open at the toes.

Apart from dealing with mild paronychia, self-care can also be done to help the healing process of severe paronychia that has been treated. Some of the treatment methods that can be given are:


To overcome the causes of paronychia, drugs that doctors can prescribe include:

  • Oral (oral) antibiotics, such as erythromycin , for paronychia caused by bacteria
  • Antibiotic cream containing fusidic acid , for paronychia caused by bacteria and the infection is not too severe
  • Antifungal ointments or oral medications, such as clotrimazole and terbinafine , for chronic paronychia caused by a yeast infection


If the abscess that is formed and swollen on the toe or hand is very large, the doctor will perform an operation to remove the pus .

Prior to surgery, the patient's finger will be under local anesthesia. After anesthesia is given, the doctor will make an incision in the abscess so that the pus can be removed. In cantengan, the doctor can remove part or all of the nail.

Komplikasi Paronikia

Paronychia that is not handled properly can cause a number of serious complications, especially if the sufferer has diabetes or has a weak immune system. These complications include:

  • Abscess
  • Permanent changes in the shape of the nails
  • Spread of infection to tendons, bones, and bloodstream

Paronychia Prevention

Paronychia can be prevented by making the following efforts:

  • Wear water-resistant rubber gloves if your job involves frequent contact with water.
  • Don't wear fake nails for a long time.
  • Dry hands and feet after touching water.
  • Avoid the habit of biting your nails or picking at the skin around your nails.
  • Don't cut your nails too short and make sure your nails are cut parallel to your fingertips.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels under control and check your feet daily for paronychia or other foot problems if you have diabetes .
  • Do regular health checks to the doctor if you suffer from an immune system disorder .
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