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Paronychia of the toenail - Definition


Paronychia of the toenail, as with the finger type, denotes any acute inflammation of the toenail. The inflammation is often located near a nail, usually secondary to a wound or small cut that has been ignored or not properly treated, where a germ has infiltrated the skin. The affected area then becomes red, swollen, and painful. If the infection is allowed to progress, pus can also accumulate, and a painful white swelling appears. In early stages, warm soaks that are remoistened several times a day can push the paronychia to "mature" and prevent it from progressing. If not correctly treated, a paronychia can spread to deep areas under the toenail and cause damage to other structures, such as the tendons or bones, in which case surgery may be required.