Common finger infections include paronychia, felon, and herpetic whitlow. A paronychia is an acute or chronic soft tissue infection around the nail body. Acute infections are typically bacterial in origin and usually occur after minor trauma. Chronic paronychia infections have a multifactorial etiology, often related to repeated exposure to moist environments and/or skin irritants, and may be accompanied by secondary fungal infection. The diagnosis of paronychia is based on clinical signs of inflammation. A bacterial culture or fungal stain can confirm the causative pathogen. Treatment of acute paronychia usually involves antibiotics, while chronic paronychia is treated with topical steroids and antifungal therapy. Complications include nail dystrophy or felon.
Felon is an infection of the distal pulp space of the fingertip. While the cause is often unknown, minor trauma most commonly precedes infection. It is a clinical diagnosis based on the presence of local pain, swelling, induration, and erythema. Early stages of felon may be managed conservatively with analgesics and antibiotics. Later stages require incision and drainage. Complications include fingertip soft tissue necrosis and osteomyelitis.
Herpetic whitlow is discussed in .
- Definition: soft tissue infection around a fingernail
- Definition: distal pulp space infection of the fingertip
- Clinical features
- Clinical diagnosis
- Culture wound fluid: to identify the causative pathogen
- Complications: necrosis, osteomyelitis, tenosynovitis, septic arthritis
- Definition: bacterial infection of the distal periungual tissue
- Etiology: infection with group A hemolytic streptococci; less commonly also with Staphylococcus aureus
- Clinical features
- Diagnosis: Gram stain of blister contents shows gram-positive cocci.
- Treatment: incision and drainage + oral antibiotics
- Complications: separation of nail from the nail bed; permanent nail dystrophy