What is paronychia?

Updated: Oct 09, 2020
  • Author: Elizabeth M Billingsley, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Paronychia is a soft tissue infection around a fingernail that begins as cellulitis but that may progress to a definite abscess. [1] The 2 types of paronychia are as follows [2] :

  • Acute paronychia - Painful and purulent condition; most frequently caused by staphylococci

  • Chronic paronychia - Usually caused by a fungal infection

The image below depicts paronychia.

Classic presentation of paronychia, with erythema Classic presentation of paronychia, with erythema and pus surrounding the nail bed. In this case, the paronychia was due to infection after a hangnail was removed.

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