Paronychia: Learn Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Prevention and Home Remedies

Have you ever suffered from swelling, redness and the throbbing pain around the nails? The skin around the affected nail may also be filled with pus. This inflammatory condition is medically called as paronychia. It is defined as skin infection around toenails or fingernails. It is a very common and usually caused by Candida which is a type of yeast. It may also be caused by bacteria or other types of fungus. It is uncomfortable and may inhibit your activities. In this article, we will discuss in detail about its symptoms, types, treatment along with measures to prevent it. If you are looking for some effective home remedies to treat it this article is for you. Let’s first give a quick look at its symptoms.

Symptoms Of Paronychia

  • Swelling around the nails
  • Redness
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Blisters filled with pus, especially seen in bacterial infection.
  • Occasionally, unusual color of the nail.
  • Abnormally shaped or detached nail

In some cases of paronychia infection may also result in following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Red streaks may develop all along the body

Types of Paronychia

Paronychia can be divided into 2 types:

1. Acute Paronychia

If you see a crack in the fold of nail followed by throbbing pain, swelling and redness around the affected area. You may suspect acute paronychia. It develops suddenly and symptoms last only for a few days. It is caused due to bacterial infection. Acute paronychia usually follows trauma of some type such as nail biting, a hangnail picking, cuticle pushing and trimming back or biting off the nail.

2. Chronic paronychia

In the case of chronic paronychia you may feel tenderness around the affected nail.  It develops slowly with the time and symptoms last for many weeks. The most common cause of chronic paronychia is a Candida yeast infection. It commonly occurs in humid and moist climate which is most favorable for the growth of Candida. However, it may also occur due to bacteria or both. In chronic paronychia, more than one nail may be affected at a time.

Causes of Paronychia

Usually, individuals who are at risk of paronychia are:

  • Have diabetes.
  • Have a fungal nail infection.
  • Exposes their feet and hands in the water a lot.

How will you Diagnosis Paronychia?

To diagnose paronychia simple observation is enough to diagnose. In some of the cases, the doctor may send a sample of fluid drained from infected tissue  to the lab to identify the causative agent.

How to Treat Paronychia?

1. Paronychia may be easily treated. Your doctor may prescribe you oral antibiotics.

2. In severe cases where antibiotics do not respond health care provider may cut the blister with a sharp sterilized instruments and drain out the fluid to provide relief.

3. In  the case of chronic fungal paronychia, anti-fungal medicine is prescribed.

4. In some cases that are more severe and do not respond to above treatment infected part of the nail may be removed.

5. If your infection is mild and acute it is easily treated and there is very less chance of it to return. In the case of chronic infection, it may take  weeks or a few months to heal. In some cases, paronychia may result into following complications:

  • Permanent loss of a whole or a part of the nail.
  • Abscess
  • Infection may spread to bones, tendons and blood stream.
  • The shape of the nail may change permanently

Home Remedies for Paronychia

Paronychia Home Treatment

Paronychia Home Treatment

Discussed below are some effective home remedies to provide you fast relief and treat paronychia.

1. Salt and water– Soaking palms and feet in salt water wards off the pus from the affected area.


  • Take a small tub of hot water.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of salt in it.
  • Mix well with the help of sterilized stirrer.
  • Soak your toe nail or finger nail in it for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this 3 times a day.

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2. Apple cider vinegar to treat paronychia– The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar kills the infection causing germs and treats paronychia.


  • Take a bowl or small tub.
  • Pour a cup, apple cider vinegar in it.
  • Now add an equal amount of water to it.
  • Soak your hands of feet in this solution for half an hour.
  • Repeat this procedure 2 to 3 times a day.

3. Tea tree oil– Tea tree oil is very effective in the treatment of paronychia. It is antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.


  • Take tea tree oil and olive oil in equal quantities.
  • Mix both oil well
  • Apply this solution on the affected area.
  • Gently massage your toenail or fingernail for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this 3 times a day.

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4. Lemon juice Lemon contains Vitamin C. It reduces inflammation and relieves pain.


  • Take a bowl and pour a glass of warm water in it.
  • Squeeze a lemon in it.
  • Soak your toenail or fingernail in the solution for 15 minutes.
  • Repeat this 3 times a day for quick relief.

5. Betel leavesBetel leaves are used from ancient times to treat paronychia. It is both antibacterial and antifungal.


  • Take some betel leaves.
  • Grind them to make a paste.
  • Apply this paste to the affected area.
  • Tie a clean and dry cotton cloth around the affected area.
  • Repeat this procedure daily for a week.

6. Oregano oil – Oregano oil is anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and antiparasitic. This is an excellent remedy to stay away from fungal infections. It also removes the excess of pus and treats paronychia.


  • Take 3 to 4 drops of oregano oil.
  • Apply It on the affected cuticles and nails.
  • Massage gently.
  • Repeat this 2 times a day.

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7. Hydrogen peroxide– It is easily available over the counter and fights against infection.


  • Directly apply hydrogen peroxide over affected area. This will clear the pus and also sterile the infected area.

There are a few preventive measures you can take to prevent it. They are as follows:

  • Maintain hygiene of feet, hand, toenails, and fingernails.
  • Avoid biting your nails.
  • Prevent nails and the tips of the fingers from damage.
  • Wear plastic gloves before exposing your nails to detergents and other chemicals.
  • Trim our nails regularly with the help of manicure clippers and scissors.
  • Do not use cuticle remover as they damage the skin that surrounds the nail.
  • Avoid trimming cuticles as it damages the skin at nail base and exposes it to infection causing germs.
  • Do not expose your feet and hands in water for long
  • Try to keep your feet and hand as dry as possible.

Above mentioned home remedies may take few weeks to treat paronychia so be patient. They are inexpensive and easily available. You may also try a combination of the above-mentioned solutions. If none of the above-mentioned remedies helps you please consult your doctor immediately. Remember, if it is not treated timely it may result in complete or partial loss of the nail.


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