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Pus in the finger is caused by infection. Paroncychia is an infection commonly found around the fingernails and toenails. It is generally caused by injuries such as picking or biting a hangnail or incorrectly trimming the cuticles. Types of paronychial infections include yeast infections, fungal infections, and bacterial infections. A fungal infection and bacterial infection can occur simultaneously.
Fungal nail infections are common in diabetics and people whose hands are frequently in water. Symptoms of nail infections can include pus, changes in the shape or color of the nail, and swelling. In addition, the area may be red and painful with an increase in skin temperature. Other signs of a fungal infection include thickened green or yellow nails covered with ridges.
Treatment for a bacterial infection in the finger includes soaking the finger in hot water between two and three times per day, which helps reduce inflammation and pain, and taking antibiotics. The doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment, an oral antibiotic, or combination of both. In addition, a minor surgical procedure may be recommended to remove all or part of the infected nail.
If pus in the finger is related to a fungal infection, the doctor may recommend an antifungal medication. Other treatment recommendations may include keeping the fingers dry and applying a skin-drying agent. Although infections that cause pus generally respond well to treatment, infection caused by fungal agents may not resolve for a few months.
Although rare, complications from a nail infection can occur. Symptoms of complications include fever and chills, red streaks on the nail or skin, muscle and joint pain, and feeling ill. When these symptoms occur, a doctor can evaluate the symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment. Another complication of a nail infection can be an increase in pain or pain that is not manageable. This may signal a worsening infection and will need to be assessed.
When pus is present, it is important to note that trying to self-treat by lancing the infected area can result in a more severe infection or even cause permanent damage to the tissue. Although not always possible, there are precautions that can be taken to prevent infections resulting in pus in the finger. These include not picking or biting the nails, properly caring for the nails, bringing personal manicure items to nail salons, and trying to avoid injuring the nails.