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Paronychia (Nail Infection) (cont.)

What Are Paronychia Symptoms and Signs?

Patient Comments

A paronychia may start as redness and swelling around the nail. It is most often very sore to the touch and, at times, may be a yellow-green color, indicating that a collection of pus has formed under the skin (called an abscess).

The most common symptoms and signs are the following:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pus collection
  • Pain and tenderness to touch

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for a Paronychia?

Call a doctor if the redness extends beyond the skin around the nail or to the pad of the finger. This redness shows that the infection might be forming a more serious finger infection with pus formation of the deep tissues of the fingertip, called a felon.

Call a doctor if an abscess is forming. An abscess requires drainage by a doctor. Opening (or incising) an abscess to drain the pus should not be attempted at home.

At the first sign of pus collection, seek medical attention for possible drainage. If one notices that the swelling and redness has extended down the finger or one is unable to move the joints of the affected finger, go to a hospital's emergency department immediately. This condition may or may not be associated with fever or chills, indicating a serious infection.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2015

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Paronychia »

A paronychia is a superficial infection of epithelium lateral to the nail plate.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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