Paronychia (Nail Infection)

Question:

What treatment has been effective for your paronychia (nail infection)? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: WB, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

Royal honey seems to be working for me. I've been battling paronychia for 7 months and have tried tea tree oil and amoxicillin with little improvement. My mom suggested applying royal honey on the infection and I've seen immediate improvement.

Comment from: Jamie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 24

I hope someone sees this while they're in the midst of their pain from paronychia like I was! I was in more pain than I've felt in a while that set on within 24 hours. I went to the minute clinic and spent 2.5 hours to get an antibiotic which I'm still taking. But the pain was so great I almost didn't go to work, and I couldn't sleep at night. I sterilized a needle and drained it myself. There was no pain doing it if you poke straight into the pus. Put antibiotic ointment on afterwards! Immediate relief!

Comment from: Texy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 21

My cuticle got infected and my finger got so swollen and I couldn't put any pressure on it. It was the worst pain and throbbing ever. I couldn't sleep the night. I was soaking it in warm water and nothing was happening. The paronychia kept getting worse. Finally I went to the doctor, on the way it started to ooze pus and the pressure and pain started to subside. I was put on antibiotics and given an antibiotic cream to apply. Also warm soaks. It is finally getting better. I would not wait this long to see a doctor if I ever get this infection because it is super painful. Don't mess with those cuticles, keep them healthy so you don't get this.

Comment from: Pyronichia, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: May 19

I had acute paronychia on my last finger of my hand. The pus had spread inside the nail. So the doctor took out my nail. After 1 month the paronychia was seen on middle finger, I myself took out pus using a sterilized blade. Now since 2 days I have swollen last finger whose nail was taken, redness, and pain has increased.

Comment from: Karen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 13

Due to an altered gait after foot surgery, I get recurrent paronychia in my big toe which hurts a lot and often develops pus. This is what works for me every time; gently pull the infected tissue away from the nail to release pus, wash out with a heavy stream of tap water. I use the garden hose. Then pack gently between the nail and the infected skin a little bit of cotton wool which has been soaked in straight tea tree oil. This keeps the space open and able to drain any further rubbish out. Also tea tree is highly anti-fungal as well as antibacterial. Overnight this always improves things a lot and it is sometimes almost healed after a second treatment.

Comment from: Mechanic Farmer, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 29

Well, my paronychia started after chipping and painting hog feeders. The right thumb has a tender area along the edge of the nail in the direction of the other fingers. The skin is separated from the nail; has a small pocket. It has been about three months now. My doctor instructed me to soak morning and evening in warm white distilled vinegar each day. I am doing 5 minutes each day. I was using 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to soak the finger also for five minutes. The infection is not getting worse but not healing. I use my hand and thumb every day for the technician work that I do. The nail is felt to be pressing the skin when a task calls for contact to the area. I try to grip without pressing the skin at the location towards the other fingers so it can heal. Difficult! I was trying Mercuroclear for a week. I quit as there was no improvement. I am looking to use liquid garlic extract next. I will try the warm 50/50 mixture of distilled water (we have a well) and antibacterial soap for 15 minutes each day before the garlic extract and see if that gives better improvement. I wear nitrile gloves to keep out dirt during work in my garden and at the job. I want to avoid the oral antibiotic, clindamycin, which may have a low risk side effect of possible liver injury.

Comment from: lola, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 06

My doctor gave me 4 weeks of antibiotics and soaking, but my paronychia didn't get better. So then he tried 2 weeks of bacterial medications, which didn't work and also gave me a rash. Then he referred me to a hand doctor, who gave me antifungal medications topical and oral, 3 weeks on this and it is slowly getting better. Half my nail fell off with more that looks like it will, but it doesn't hurt like it did. I have 3 weeks of medicines left then hopefully it will be all cleared up, except for no nail. I advise anyone not to wait to see doctor over what seems to be superficial.

Comment from: Mrs B., 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 27

I am going through chemotherapy and I just noticed my ring finger turning red first on the side and spreading up to the middle and sore to touch. I soaked it with equal parts of white vinegar and water and I scraped banana peel and applied around it with the use of Band-Aid. Now it is starting to dry and I have less pain. I went to show it to my doctor the following day and he advised me to put triple antibiotic if my paronychia got worse. He asked me what I put, and I said I tried to use my emergency home remedy and it helps.

Comment from: lastlooks, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 15

I found great relief for my paronychia with tea tree oil. Pain went away after I soaked it.

Comment from: Sneakyshopper, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 04

I have had swelling around my left index finger tip/nail area for almost a year. It has traveled around the fingertip to the side of my fingertip, to under one side of the nail, red and painful, but never any pus that can be seen. It is mostly red and very painful. Soaking in warm Epsom salt really helps, but I have to do it daily. I am on antibiotics now and the paronychia is seeming to go. I haven't used my finger for a long time; so frustrated.

Comment from: anonymous, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 30

My paronychia got to the painful point, and I began soaking my nails in warm water. Pain has mostly gone away although they are still red and swollen. So either my finger died or it is slowly getting better on its own. Will continue soaking.

Comment from: Susan, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

I had paronychia too. I bit my cuticle and then the pain started and continued for 2 days. Pus formed at the side of the cuticle. I went to the doctor who prescribed a Z-Pak and I had it drained. It feels better but not great. I am three days into this and I would not wish this on anyone. It has been the most painful experience. So, don't bite your cuticles, wash your hands and dry them very well and you should keep it at bay.

Comment from: Dard, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 22

I have had this problem for more than two years and after seeing 14 different dermatologists I was diagnosed with paronychia. I have tried many different medications including antibiotic, antifungal, steroid and nothing seem to work. I am in a lot of pain and can't do anything.

Comment from: Yafux, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 20

My sister-in-law just drained the pus and put antibiotic cream on her nail infection. We shall see.

Comment from: ddrJsm, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 04

My podiatrist said I had an abscess in my big toe, he told me to put Neosporin on the nail infection, with a Band-Aid, and to repeat for a few days. He checks and trims my nails every 10 weeks.

Comment from: rosalind, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: August 22

I have had a paronychia for several weeks now. My doctor has given me two lots of antibiotics, but nothing has helped. Another doctor told me to soak it in hot soapy water and then apply magnesium sulphate. Nothing gets rid of it. I am fed up.

Comment from: frank, Male (Patient) Published: April 30

While emptying dishwasher, a fork tine went under my thumbnail and the entry area is sore and red. It's painful to touch. It happened two weeks ago

Comment from: Lavi, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 14

I was told I have paronychia by urgent care. They said it wasn't too bad. I have swelling with constant pain. I just started antibiotics and hoping it helps. It's a little better, but still swollen and kind of hard and mostly hurts only when pressure is applied when I need to do certain things.

Comment from: Rhonda, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 29

I just went yesterday to a nearby surgeon and had to have my right thumbnail removed. I have been taking antibiotics and antifungal meds. When he removed the nail there was a bad abscess under the nail. Don't put any close bandages on it if this happens to you. The bandages will stick and I had to soak most of the day my thumb in water and peroxide. It really hurt and bled when the bandage came off. The infection was really bad. Don't wait see a surgeon immediately if this happens to you. I don't have a right thumbnail unless it slowly grows back. The abscess popped when the nail came off and the doctor is sending the nail and fluid to the lab for tests.

Comment from: Melinda, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

This was the worst constant pain I have ever experienced. I went to a family doctor who told me I had cellulitis and gave me an antibiotic. Later that day the throbbing and swelling got worse so I headed to the emergency room they told me it was paronychia. They opened it up and drained it. The pain of that was awful but the relief was well worth it. Definitely don't mess around with this do something immediately.

Comment from: OG, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 04

Incision and drainage helped tremendously. Immediate relief from pain and swelling.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 16

I've had this in my toe nail. My doctor told me to soak it in warm, sudsy water with antibacterial detergent. She also gave me an antibiotic.

Comment from: gigi, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 07

I went to the emergency room yesterday after reading this article. I am glad I did. It was Labor Day so I couldn't see my doctor. The doctor immediately diagnosed it as Paronychia. She lanced it and prescribed an anti-biotic. She also told me to soak it twice a day in warm water. It's much better. Like another reviewer said, don't wait.

Comment from: nurse, 35-44 (Patient) Published: July 18

My doctor lanced it and squeezed the pus out. Now I'm on antibiotics and I'm told not to submerge it.

Comment from: Kate, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 18

Soaking the finger in salty water didn't work. My practitioner took a sterilized needle and put it under the edge of the skin. This released the pus and it was immediate relief.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 07

Treat symptoms promptly. Soaking in warm salted water is a very good idea. I ended up needing antibiotics to knock out the infection.

Comment from: jim, Male (Patient) Published: March 23

I have been to my regular doctor 5 times for my paronychia nail infection, with no success.

Comment from: tomjoy5, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 22

Soaking in warm salt water at the first sign of redness seems to help.

Comment from: mmgideon01, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 20

I have had repeated bouts of paronychia over the past few years. I've lost fingernails, and have had to have nails removed twice. I suspected that I might be diabetic, since type 2 diabetes runs in my family. One doctor did a fasting blood sugar on me, which turned out okay. He didn't do an A1c, though. This past March, an A1c was done as part of my annual labwork, and I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I am hoping that since I'm now on oral diabetes medication, the paronychia won't continue to happen as often.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 02

I sought medical treatment when the nail bed became swollen and the underside of the thumb was throbbing. Doctor put me on antibiotics and said to come back if condition worsened. Within 2 days my entire thumb was swollen, hot and red and was throbbing constantly. There was also a large pus pocket forming at the base of my nail. The doctor lanced it, squeezed out the pus and put a wick in the infected pocket. I was then put on oral antibiotics and given a shot of antibiotics. My thumb is fine although my thumb nail is slightly deformed. Don't wait to get this treated. It all happened very quickly.

Patient Comments & Reviews

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REFERENCE:

Biesbroeck, L.K., and P. Fleckman. "Nail Disease for the Primary Care Provider." Med Clin North Am 99.6 Nov. 2015: 1213-1226.

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