II. Definition

  1. Superficial infection of distal phalanx along nail edge
  2. Affects perionychium (Epidermis at nail border)

III. Pathophysiology

  1. Disrupted seal between nail fold and nail plate
  2. Mechanisms of Acute Paronychia
    1. Local Penetrating Trauma
    2. Nail biting
    3. Finger sucking
    4. Aggressive manicure
    5. Hang nail
    6. Artificial nail placement (sculptured nails)
    7. Dermatitis (e.g. Pemphigus Vulgaris)

IV. Etiology: Polymicrobial in most cases

  1. Trauma related (most common)
    1. Staphylococcus aureus (common)
  2. Oral flora related from nail biting or sucking
    1. Streptococcus Pyogenes (common)
    2. Pseudomonas pyocyanea
    3. Gram Negative Bacteria (e.g. Proteus vulgaris)
  3. Other causes (Anaerobes)
    1. Bacteroides
    2. Fusobacterium nucleatum

V. Symptoms

  1. Onset 2-5 days after Trauma
  2. Local pain at perionychium (Eponychium)

VI. Signs

  1. Early: Perionychial inflammation
    1. Local redness
    2. Swelling
    3. Tenderness at nail edge to palpation
    4. Discolored nail
  2. Late: Complicated infection
    1. Abscess at perionychium
    2. Nail bed infection
    3. May elevate nail plate

VII. Signs: Digital Pressure Test

  1. Indication: Diagnostic for early Paronychia before abscess is clearly demarcated
  2. Technique
    1. Patient opposes thumb and affected finger (applying pressure to pulp at finger tip)
  3. Positive test
    1. Abscess becomes demarcated with blanching
  4. Reference
    1. Turkmen (2004) Br J Plast Surg 57:93-4 [PubMed]

VIII. Differential Diagnosis

IX. Labs

  1. Consider wound culture in severe cases to identify MRSA

X. Management: General measures

  1. Soak 3-4 times daily for 15 minutes each
    1. Warm water or
    2. Burow's Solution or
    3. Acetic acid soaks (1:1 vinegar in water)
  2. Splint affected finger
  3. Tetanus prophylaxis
  4. Incision and Drainage if abscess pocket is delineated (see below)
  5. Antibiotics: Topical in early, mild cases
    1. Bactroban twice daily for 5-10 days or
    2. Gentamicin ointment three times daily for 5-10 days
    3. Neomycin ointment
      1. Indicated for pseudomonal Paronychia (green discoloration, moist environment)
    4. Consider with adjunctive Topical Corticosteroid (medium to high potency)
      1. Wollina (2001) J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 15:82-4 [PubMed]
  6. Antibiotics: Systemic in persistent, moderate to severe cases
    1. History may direct specific antibiotics
      1. Traumatic cause in region where MRSA is common
      2. Nail biting cause directs antibiotic coverage for oral flora
      3. Green discoloration (esp repeat Trauma in chronically moist environments) may direct pseudomonas coverage
    2. First line (for Staphylococcus aureus if Trauma is source as opposed to oral flora)
      1. Cephalexin (Keflex) or
      2. Dicloxacillin
    3. Second Line (for Gram Negatives and Anaerobes if oral flora source suspected)
      1. Clindamycin
      2. Amoxicillin-Clavulanate (Augmentin)
      3. Trimethoprim Sulfamethoxazole (Septra)

XI. Management: Incision and Drainage

  1. Anesthesia
    1. Digital Block (Metacarpal Block)
  2. Contraindications
    1. Herpetic Whitlow
  3. Technique 1
    1. Identify blanched skin over abscess (may use digital pressure test as above)
    2. Puncture abscess with #18 gauge needle in multiple sites to allow drainage
  4. Technique 2
    1. Digital anesthesia block is required
    2. Pass #15 or #11 scalpel blade passed between nail and nail fold
      1. Abscess area should be clearly demarcated by overlying blanching of skin
      2. Direct blade away from nail
      3. Avoid entering through the Eponychium
      4. Avoid injury to cuticle
    3. May need to remove part of nail to expose infection
      1. Indicated for subungual abscess
    4. Irrigate wound
    5. Larger wounds could be packed with small plain gauze

XII. Prevention

  1. Avoid nail Trauma from nail biting, picking or sucking
  2. Do not trim or remove cuticles
  3. Keep finger nails clean and dry

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Ontology: Paronychia Inflammation (C0030578)

Definition (NCI_CTCAE) A disorder characterized by an infectious process involving the soft tissues around the nail.
Definition (NCI) An acute or chronic infection of the soft tissues around the nail. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, erythema, and swelling around the nail. Acute infection results from minor trauma to the fingertip and Staphylococcus aureus is usually the causative agent. Chronic infection is usually caused by Candida albicans.
Definition (MSH) An inflammatory reaction involving the folds of the skin surrounding the fingernail. It is characterized by acute or chronic purulent, tender, and painful swellings of the tissues around the nail, caused by an abscess of the nail fold. The pathogenic yeast causing paronychia is most frequently Candida albicans. Saprophytic fungi may also be involved. The causative bacteria are usually Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or Streptococcus. (Andrews' Diseases of the Skin, 8th ed, p271)
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D010304
ICD10 L03.0
SnomedCT 267830000, 200643006, 156305000, 71906005
HL7 PARON
English Paronychia, Paronychias, PARONYCHIA, paronychia, paronychia (diagnosis), Paronychia [Disease/Finding], Paronychia Inflammation, Nailfold infected, Infected nailfold, Nail bed inflammation, Paronychitis, Perionychia, Paronychia (disorder), perionychia
Portuguese PARONIQUIA, Inflamação do leito ungueal, Paroniquia
Spanish PARONIQUIA, Inflamación del lecho ungueal, paroniquia (trastorno), paroniquia, perioniquia, Paroniquia
German PARONYCHIE, Paronychie, Umlauf, Nagelfalzentzündung, Nagelwallentzündung, Nagelbettentzuendung
Dutch nagelbedontsteking, paronychia, Paronychia
French Inflammation du lit unguéal, PARONYCHIE, Périonyxis, Panaris, Tourniole, Paronychie
Italian Infiammazione del letto ungueale, Paronichia
Japanese 爪囲炎, 爪床の炎症, ソウショウノエンショウ, ソウイエン
Swedish Nagelbandsinfektion
Czech paronychie, Zánět nehtového lůžka, Paronychium
Finnish Kynnenvierustulehdus
Russian PARONIKHIIA, ПАРОНИХИЯ
Polish Zanokcica
Hungarian paronychia, Körömágy gyulladás
Norwegian Neglerotbetennelse, Paronyki

Ontology: Acute bacterial paronychia (C1274348)

Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
SnomedCT 402930002
English paronychia acute bacterial, Acute bacterial paronychia (diagnosis), Acute bacterial paronychia (disorder), Acute bacterial paronychia
Spanish paroniquia bacteriana aguda (trastorno), paroniquia bacteriana aguda