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What is Paronychia?

Paronychia is an acute or chronic bacterial nail infection in the proximal nail fold (where the nail is growing from). See pictures of Paronychia. The skin around nails becomes swollen, red and painful. There may be pus-filled blisters, and nails may change shape and color.

Patients with chronic paronychia may have periodic, painful flare-ups of the infection, which often are complicated by a fungal (Candida) infection. Patients with this condition require medical treatment to prevent deformity of the nail and nail separation.

  • Bacterial paronychia is caused by bacteria.
  • Candidal paronychia is caused by yeast.
  • Fungal paronychia is caused by a fungus other than Candida.

A bacterial and fungal infection may occur at the same time.

Fungal paronychia may be seen in persons with a fungal nail infection. It is also common among persons with diabetes and those who have their hands in water for long periods of time.

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