Nail bed infection

Inflammation of the nail bed (onychia) is one of the most common infections affecting the fingers and toes. It is usually caused by bacteria and manifests itself as pus under the skin.

Overview

Inflammation of the nail bed (onychia) is one of the most common infections affecting the fingers and toes. It is usually caused by bacteria and manifests itself as pus under the skin. It causes severe pain and can be treated with disinfecting ointments.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Strong pulsing pain around the nail of a finger or toe
  • The affected area is red, swollen and very sensitive to pressure
  • Over time, pus is formed under the skin

Other symptoms

Causes and treatment

Causes and treatment

Inflammation of the nail bed is most commonly caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria that enter the skin through small wounds.

Possible risk factors
  • Wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Ingrown nails
  • Torn cuticles
  • Nails that are cut too short
  • Nail biting

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible therapies
  • Disinfecting ointments
  • Antibiotics
  • Painkillers
  • Lancing of pus pocket with a sterile needle

What can I do myself?

  • Bathe the infected nail in warm water with black tea or salt every day
  • Disinfecting ointments, blistering ointment

Important: never try to lance the pus pocket yourself! Don’t try and cut into it.

When to see a doctor?

  • If self-treatment doesn't improve the nail bed infection within a day or two
  • Fever
  • Diabetes mellitus patients

Synonyms

paronychia, onychia, paraungual panaritium, panaritium

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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