Common causes of fingernail pus include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and yeast infections. In addition, an infection that produces fingernail pus is generally caused by an injury such as picking a hangnail or vigorously cutting the cuticles. In some cases, multiple infections that cause fingernail pus may be present at the same time, such as bacterial and fungal infections.
Fungal infections of the fingernail can cause a yellow to green nail discoloration, thick ridged nails, and fingernail pus. In addition, a fungal nail infection can cause the nails to become brittle and even fall off. The nails typically change shape and the finger can redden and swell. Sometimes, fungal nail infections can cause pain, but generally, if pain is present, it is usually mild.
Paronychia is the term used to describe an infection on the skin around the fingernails and toenails. Treatment for paronychia and subsequent fingernail pus includes soaking the affected finger in hot water three times daily to help reduce pain, swelling, and redness. In addition, the healthcare provider may recommend oral or topical antibiotics. In some cases, both oral and topical antibiotics will be used together to treat fingernail pus from an infection.
For nail infections caused by fungal agents, antifungal medications may be prescribed. Fungal infections may be more resistant to treatment than bacterial nail infections and may take up to three months or more to resolve. In addition, the nail may be lost due to a fungal infection and may not grow back for many months. Anti-fungal medications can cause side effects such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
An infection that produces fingernail pus can cause rare complications such as a blood infection, fever, chills and joint pains. These complications are more likely to occur when the entire course of prescribe antibiotics is not completed. It is important to note that when the healthcare provider prescribes antibiotics, all of them need to be consumed. If antibiotic treatment is discontinued before the course is completed, the infection may not go away or may even become worse.
People who have pus in or around their fingernails should never try to drain the pus themselves. Unless done by a healthcare provider in a sterile setting, draining the pus could lead to a serious infection. In addition, it can also lead to permanent scarring and tissue damage. Making sure that manicure and pedicure instruments are sterilized between use, properly caring for the fingernails and cuticles, and keeping the hands clean can cut down on the incidence of a fingernail infection.