Paronychia, or nail root inflammation, is an infection of the skin that can manifest around the nails on both hands and feet. According to medical organizations, this pathology affects the cuticle and the sides of the nail. A red swelling with plaster that is tender to the touch indicates infection.
As with any fungal or bacterial infection, there is also a (albeit a fairly low) risk of it spreading to other tissues. Precisely because of this, it is important to detect and take care of it quickly and efficiently. Stay tuned to learn more about nail root inflammation, as well as the symptoms and treatments.
What is nail root inflammation?
As we said above, this pathology is a contagious process around the nail. Studies indicate that the main symptom is inflammation of the nail plate. In addition, the cuticle disappears, sometimes accompanied by plaster.
This infectious disease can be classified in different ways, depending on medical criteria. We take a closer look below.
Pathogens that cause this infection will determine the duration and severity of it. Official sources, such as the US National Library of Medicine, report that there are two types of nail root inflammation:
- Acute. This is of bacterial origin due to streptococci , staphylococci and pseudomonas . It appears suddenly, does not last long, and usually affects only one finger.
- Chronic. This is due to the yeast Candida . It can hit more than one finger, takes longer to heal, and you may experience relapse.
The previous classification is useful from an epidemiological point of view. This is because it lets you know what to expect from the disease according to the pathogen that causes it. Nevertheless, from a surgical prism, it is necessary to distinguish the nail root inflammation based on how severe the symptoms are. Sources cited above have created this classification:
- First degree. When the bacteria have not penetrated deep yet, but it is a bladder with pus.
- Second degree. When there is an abscess (accumulation of pus) in the nail bed, due to deep bacterial penetration.
- Third degree. When the abscess extends to the subcutaneous adipose tissue.
- Fourth and fifth degree. When the infection is much deeper and reaches the bone, or when it manifests as necrosis (tissue death).
As you can see, this infection becomes more serious as the bacteria penetrate deeper into the affected tissue. It is precisely because of this that it is important to detect it quickly to avoid the rare but possible complications.
Symptoms of nail root inflammation
The symptoms of nail root inflammation depend on the degree of infection and the microorganisms that cause it. Official portals have collected some of the most obvious clinical signs. Among them we can see:
- Pain, swelling and redness at the base of one or more nails
- Boils full of plaster in the area of infection
- Changes in the color of the nail or that it separates from the fingertip
- By spreading the bacterial infection to the rest of the body, the patient may experience fever, chills, malaise and muscle pain among other symptoms.
Causes of nail root inflammation
The causes of this infection are related to the fact that it is easy for pathogens to enter, beyond the external skin barriers. Ongoing mechanical damage, such as nail biting, sucking on the fingers or atypical growth with lesions, can predispose a person to the onset of this condition.
Furthermore, according to scientific studies, exposure to continuous moisture promotes the occurrence of fungal infections. Precisely because of this, people with occupations related to water management (nurses, cooks and cleaning workers, for example) are more prone to chronic Candida paronychia .
Diabetes can be another risk factor. At least according to clinical studies where researchers observed that up to 30% of patients with fungal infections had diabetes.
Infections like this usually heal on their own within a few days. Professionals recommend keeping the affected nail in warm water several times a day to reduce discomfort.
You must see a doctor if the infection spreads or you notice abscesses / boils. Hen may prescribe antifungals or antibiotics, depending on the cause. Furthermore, he can recommend local surgery if the abscess is very serious.
Things to keep in mind
As you can see, this disease is contagious and mainly affects the skin around the nails. A special type of treatment is not always necessary, but you may need medical intervention if it is caused by bacteria such as Candida .
Ultimately, it is important not to bite nails to prevent this type of pathology. Therefore, cut them regularly and consult a dermatologist for abnormal growth. Remember that your skin is your first defense barrier. Precisely because of this, it is important to take care of it and not expose it to unnecessary stress.