Acute paronychia lasts less than 6 weeks and it’s usually caused by bacteria. It tends to develop after bacteria is introduced to your toe following trauma, which can be caused by tight shoes, tight socks or cutting your nails too short. Acute paronychia can also develop as the result of a hangnail or ingrown toenail.
Chronic Paronychia is an irritation of the paronychium, which is the soft tissue that borders the nail. It could be due to a past infection or trauma which has caused the tissue to enlarge or become hard.
You may have symptoms of acute paronychia include pain, swelling, redness, discolouration or thickening of the nail, and in some cases, blisters filled with pus or pus draining from the injury. Your infected toe must be treated otherwise the infection can spread up your toe and worse case can spread up your leg. In some cases, pain can come from an irritated nerve (mortons neuroma), in which case the nail will not appear red but may be very painful.
If you have chronic paronychia it can last over 6 weeks and it’s usually caused by a fungal infection; however, it can also be caused by a combination of a bacterial and fungal infection. Risk factors include jobs which keep your feet in a moist environment (ie work boots) Symptoms are similar to those found in acute paronychia, and the easiest way to differentiate both conditions is by the time they take to develop and heal.
Your chronic paronychia is treated with antifungal and/or antibiotic medications, although these have low success rates. ModPod has invested in Laser fungus treatment with cold laser which uses painless red and blue laser wavelengths and is highly effective in improving fungal nail infections.
Infected toes can be harder to diagnose and treat if you suffer from diabetes, since the vascular and nerve damage caused by the disease makes it harder for you to feel trauma to your toes, and it slows the healing process. If you are diabetic, or suffer from a weakened immune system, you should make sure to keep your feet dry and to check them every day looking for any minor injuries which can trigger an infected toe. If you are a diabetic living in Sydney you should get an annual diabetic foot review.
The best way to avoid infected toes is by keeping your feet dry and clean, making sure you wear comfortable shoes that don’t put excessive pressure on your toes, and trimming your nails straight across. Avoid walking barefoot in moist, common areas such as gyms, pool or gym showers, or around the pool.
If you have an infected toe, make an appointment with our Modpod podiatrist Sydney. They will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis, drain your infection if necessary, and prescribe you the proper treatment to make sure your infected toe heals as fast and effectively as possible.
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