Paronychia

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Paronychia
Other namesInfection – skin around the nail[1]
Paronychia.jpg
SpecialtyDermatology, emergency medicine
TypesAcute and chronic

Paronychia is an inflammation of the skin around the nail, which can occur suddenly, when it is usually due to the bacteria Staph. aureus, or gradually when it is commonly caused by Candida albicans.[2][3][4] The term is from Greek: παρωνυχία from para, "around", onyx, "nail" and the abstract noun suffix -ia.[5][6]

The index and middle fingers are most commonly affected and usually present with redness, swelling and pain. Pus or discharge may be present.[2]

Risk factors include repeatedly washing hands and trauma to the cuticle such as may occur from repeated nail biting,[2] or hangnails.

Treatment ranges from antibiotics and anti-fungals, and if pus is present, the consideration of incision and drainage.[2]

Paronychia is commonly misapplied as a synonym for herpetic whitlow or felon.[2]

Definition and etymology[edit]

Paronychia is an inflammation of the skin around the nail, which can occur suddenly (acute), when it is usually due to the bacteria Staph. aureus, or gradually (chronic) when it is commonly caused by Candida albicans.[2]

The term is from Greek: παρωνυχία from para, "around", onyx, "nail" and the abstract noun suffix -ia.[7][8]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

The index and middle fingers are most commonly affected and may present with redness, swelling and pain. Pus or discharge may be present.[2]

Causes[edit]

Acute paronychia is usually caused by bacteria. Paronychia is often treated with antibiotics, either topical or oral or both. Chronic paronychia is most often caused by a yeast infection of the soft tissues around the nail but can also be traced to a bacterial infection. If the infection is continuous, the cause is often fungal and needs antifungal cream or paint to be treated.[9]

Risk factors include repeatedly washing hands and trauma to the cuticle such as may occur from repeated nail biting.[2] or hangnails. In the context of bartending, it is known as bar rot.[10]

Prosector's paronychia is a primary inoculation of tuberculosis of the skin and nails, named after its association with prosectors, who prepare specimens for dissection. Paronychia around the entire nail is sometimes referred to as runaround paronychia.[citation needed]

Painful paronychia in association with a scaly, erythematous, keratotic rash (papules and plaques) of the ears, nose, fingers, and toes may be indicative of acrokeratosis paraneoplastica, which is associated with squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx.[11]

Paronychia can occur with diabetes, drug-induced immunosuppression,[12] or systemic diseases such as pemphigus.[13]

Diagnosis[edit]

Types[edit]

Paronychia may be divided as occurring suddenly, acute, or gradually, chronic.[14]

Acute[edit]

Acute paronychia is an infection of the folds of tissue surrounding the nail of a finger or, less commonly, a toe, lasting less than six weeks.[4] The infection generally starts in the paronychium at the side of the nail, with local redness, swelling, and pain.[15]: 660 Acute paronychia is usually caused by direct or indirect trauma to the cuticle or nail fold, and may be from relatively minor events, such as dishwashing, an injury from a splinter or thorn, nail biting, biting or picking at a hangnail, finger sucking, an ingrown nail, or manicure procedures.[16]: 339

Chronic[edit]

Chronic Paronychia is an infection of the folds of tissue surrounding the nail of a finger or, less commonly, a toe, lasting more than six weeks.[4] It is a nail disease prevalent in individuals whose hands or feet are subject to moist local environments, and is often due to contact dermatitis.[15]: 660 In chronic paronychia, the cuticle separates from the nail plate, leaving the region between the proximal nail fold and the nail plate vulnerable to infection.[17]: 343 It can be the result of dish washing, finger sucking, aggressively trimming the cuticles, or frequent contact with chemicals (mild alkalis, acids, etc.).

Alternatively, paronychia may be divided as follows:[15]

  • Candidal paronychia is an inflammation of the nail fold produced by Candida albicans.[14]: 310
  • Pyogenic paronychia is an inflammation of the folds of skin surrounding the nail caused by bacteria.[14]: 254 Generally acute paronychia is a pyogenic paronychia as it is usually caused by a bacterial infection.[4]

Differential[edit]

Differential diagnosis of paronychia include:

  • Cellulitis – Cellulitis is a superficial infection and will present as erythema and swelling to the affected portion of the body with no area of fluctuance. Treatment is with oral antibiotics.[18]
  • Whitlow or felon – a subcutaneous infection of the digital pulp space. The area becomes warm, red, tense, and very painful due to the confinement of the infection, creating pressure in the individual compartments created by the septa of the finger pad. These require excision and drainage, usually with a longitudinal incision and blunt dissection to ensure adequate drainage.[2][18]
  • Herpetic whitlow – This is a viral infection of the distal finger caused by HSV. Patients usually develop a burning, pruritic sensation before the infection erupts. A physical exam will show vesicles, vesicopustules, along with pain and erythema. It is important to not confuse this with a felon or a paronychia as incision and drainage of herpetic whitlow could result in a secondary bacterial infection and failure to heal.[18]
  • Onychomycosis – This is a fungal infection of the nail that causes whitish-yellowish discoloration. Sometimes difficult to treat and requires oral antibiotics instead of topical.[18]
  • Nail psoriasispsoriasis can affect the fingernails and toenails. It may cause thickening of the nails with areas of pitting, ridges, irregular contour, and even raising of the nail from the nail bed.[18]
  • Squamous cell carcinoma – Squamous cell carcinoma is mainly cancer of the skin but can also affect the nail bed. It is a rare malignant subungual tumor subject to misdiagnosis as chronic paronychia.[18]

Treatment[edit]

When no pus is present, warm soaks for acute paronychia are reasonable, even though there is a lack of evidence to support its use.[19]

Incision after paronychia of the thumb, partial removal of the nail

Chronic paronychia is treated by avoiding whatever is causing it, a topical antifungal, and a topical steroid. In those who do not improve following these measures, oral antifungals and steroids may be used or the nail fold may be removed surgically.[20]

Antibiotics[edit]

There is no strong evidence recommending topical vs. oral antibiotics, and this may be physician-dependent based on experience. Antibiotic used should have staph aureus coverage. Topical antibiotics used may be a triple antibiotic ointment, bacitracin, or mupirocin. In patients failing topical treatment or more severe cases, oral antibiotics are an option; dicloxacillin (250mg four times a day) or cephalexin (500mg three to four times a day). Indications for antibiotics with anaerobic coverage include patients where there is a concern for oral inoculation; this would require the addition of clindamycin or amoxicillin-clavulanate.[18] Antibiotics such as clindamycin or cephalexin are also often used, the first being more effective in areas where MRSA is common.[19] If there are signs of an abscess (the presence of pus) drainage is recommended.[19]

Epidemiology[edit]

Paronychia is more common in women than in men, with a female-to-male ratio of three to one. Usually, they affect manual labor workers or patients in occupations that require them to have their hands or feet submerged in water for prolonged periods (e.g., dishwashers). Middle-aged females are at the highest risk of infection.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Paronychia: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". medlineplus.gov. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i James G. Marks; Jeffrey J. Miller (2013). "21. Nail disorders". Lookingbill and Marks' Principles of Dermatology E-Book (Fifth ed.). Elsevier Saunders. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-4557-2875-6.
  3. ^ Rigopoulos D, Larios G, Gregoriou S, Alevizos A (February 2008). "Acute and chronic paronychia". Am Fam Physician. 77 (3): 339–46. PMID 18297959.
  4. ^ a b c d Rockwell PG (March 2001). "Acute and chronic paronychia". Am Fam Physician. 63 (6): 1113–6. PMID 11277548.
  5. ^ Harper, Douglas. "paronychia". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  6. ^ παρωνυχία, παρά, ὄνυξ. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  7. ^ Harper, Douglas. "paronychia". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  8. ^ παρωνυχία, παρά, ὄνυξ. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  9. ^ "Doctor's advice Q: Whitlow (paronychia)". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  10. ^ "Bar Rot". The Truth About Bartending. January 27, 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-03-22.
  11. ^ Karen Allen, MD (2005-08-17). "eMedicine – Acrokeratosis Neoplastica". Medscape.
  12. ^ Paronychia~clinical at eMedicine
  13. ^ Serratos BD, Rashid RM (2009). "Nail disease in pemphigus vulgaris". Dermatol. Online J. 15 (7): 2. PMID 19903430.
  14. ^ a b c James, William D.; Berger, Timothy G. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-7216-2921-6.
  15. ^ a b c Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. (2003). Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine (6th ed.). McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0071380768.
  16. ^ Rigopoulos, Dimitris; Larios, George; Gregoriou, Stamatis; Alevizos, Alevizos (2008). "Acute and Chronic Paronychia" (PDF). American Family Physician. 77 (3): 339–346. PMID 18297959. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  17. ^ Rigopoulos, Dimitris; Larios, George; Gregoriou, Stamatis; Alevizos, Alevizos (2008). "Acute and Chronic Paronychia" (PDF). American Family Physician. 77 (3): 339–346. PMID 18297959. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h Dulski, Anne; Edwards, Christopher W (2020). "Paronychia". Statpearls. PMID 31335027. CC-BY icon.svg Text was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  19. ^ a b c Ritting, AW; O'Malley, MP; Rodner, CM (May 2012). "Acute paronychia". The Journal of Hand Surgery. 37 (5): 1068–70, quiz page 1070. doi:10.1016/j.jhsa.2011.11.021. PMID 22305431.
  20. ^ Rigopoulos, Dimitris; Larios, George; Gregoriou, Stamatis; Alevizos, Alevizos (1 February 2008). "Acute and Chronic Paronychia". American Family Physician. 77 (3): 339–346. ISSN 0002-838X.

External links[edit]

Classification
External resources