Paronychia, a Foot Infection: What is it, and How Can You Prevent It?

Dealing with foot infections like paronychia can be a real pain. But don’t panic if you notice your toes are swelling or in pain! Paronychia is a common condition that can be easily identified, treated, and even prevented. In this brief essay brought to you by Mountain Spring Podiatry, we’ll shed light on paronychia – its causes, symptoms, treatment options, and preventive measures. If you prefer to consult with a qualified podiatrist, or foot doctor, then call Mountain Spring Podiatry to get in touch with a live member of our team.

Understanding Paronychia and It’s Causes

Paronychia affects the skin around the nails, typically in the toes. It causes inflammation and infection in the nail fold, where the nail and skin meet. There are two main types: acute paronychia, which strikes suddenly and lasts briefly, and chronic paronychia, which lingers or keeps coming back.

Most cases of acute paronychia are caused by bacteria like Staphylococcus, also know as staph infections, which enter through cuts, hangnails, or scrapes. Occasionally, fungal infections can also lead to acute paronychia.

Chronic cases involve repeated injuries, pre-existing skin conditions, or prolonged exposure to moisture. Nail injuries can damage the nail fold, and being in constant contact with moisture weakens the skin’s barrier and increases the risk of infection. Further, people with conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or allergic dermatitis are more prone to chronic paronychia.

What Are Some Common Symptoms of Paronychia?

The first thing you might notice about paronychia is a pain or throbbing sensation in the toe(s). A closer look might reveal redness, swelling, and tenderness around the nail. In some cases, pus may also develop. You may also have difficulty moving the affected toe.

Self-Care Treatment for Paronychia

It’s always advisable to see a medical professional if you are experiencing severe symptoms or chronic cases of foot infections and injuries, but there are things you can do at home to reduce swelling and promote healing.

In mild cases, soaking the affected finger or toe in warm water multiple times a day can help reduce inflammation and promote drainage. For more moderate cases, oral antiobiotics, antiseptic creams, or ointments may be recommended. Manual drainage or removal of the nail may be required in severe cases.

Again, it’s important to note that severe and chronic cases should be evaluated by a licensed podiatrist, or healthcare professional.

Can Paronychia Be Prevented?

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing paronychia. For one, make sure your hands and feet are clean and dry. Remember, moisture helps bacteria and fungus thrive! Secondly, avoid biting or picking at your nails. You should also avoid harsh chemicals and soaps that can damage or dry out the skin around your nails. Finally, keep your nails trimmed and filed to prevent hangnails and other types of nail injuries which can contribute to paronychia development.

If you would like to see a dependable podiatrist regarding paronychia or any other foot issue, then call Mountain Spring Podiatry to schedule a convenient appointment. Our knowledgeable staff are on standby to take your call.