ABC7’s The More in the Morning team spoke with Dr. Michael K. Kim, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, to discuss nail lesions and infections and the types of treatments and procedures done to correct the issues.
What is Paronychia?
Paronychia is nail inflammation that may result from trauma, irritation or infection. It can affect fingernails or toenails. Paronychia can develop when bacteria enter broken skin near the cuticle and nail fold, causing an infection. The cuticle is the skin at the base of the nail. The nail fold is where the skin and nail come together.
Paronychia symptoms include:
- Pain, swelling and tenderness around the nail.
- Skin that is red and warm to the touch.
- Pus that builds up under the skin. A white to yellow, pus-filled abscess may form. If an abscess forms, it may require antibiotics and/or drainage.
How to prevent a nail infection
- Avoid biting or chewing on your nails or hangnails. Don’t pick at your cuticles.
- Be careful not to cut your nails too short. When trimming cuticles, avoid cutting too close to the nail fold.
- Maintain good hygiene by washing your hands and keeping your nails clean. Use gentle soaps that are not irritating to your skin.
- Use lotion on your nail fold and cuticles if your skin is dry. Excessive dryness can cause the skin to crack.
- Wear waterproof gloves if you work with chemicals or your hands will be wet for a long period.
Nail fungus is a common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. It can affect several nails.
Fungal nail infections are caused by various fungal organisms (fungi). The most common cause is a type of fungus called dermatophyte. Yeast and molds also can cause nail infections.
Fungal nail infection can develop in people at any age, but it's more common in older adults. As the nail ages, it can become brittle and dry. The resulting cracks in the nails allow fungi to enter. Other factors — such as reduced blood circulation to the feet and a weakened immune system — also may play a role.
Toenail fungal infection can start from athlete's foot (foot fungus), and it can spread from one nail to another. But it is uncommon to get an infection from someone else.