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Many times, if you have an infection in a toenail, it’s caused by fungus. But there are times when that’s not the case. So what else could it be if not fungus under your nails? Paronychia is a type of infection that affects the area surrounding your toenail. This is the “U” shape all around your nail. It may start out as a small infection, which is usually associated with an abscess. This usually coincides with some collected pus underneath the skin.

Paronychia is caused by a bacterial infection that, if it is left untreated, could last for months. Bacteria gathers in the small gap where the nail and cuticle are attached, causing infection. It’s frequently found in people who often have wet feet for prolonged periods such as athletes playing in wet conditions.

If the area of skin next to your nail is sore or tender then this may be a sign that you have a slight infection. If you suspect an infection then you should go to your podiatrist, especially if you have a medical condition like diabetes. Many times, if caught early and with proper care, the bacterial infection can be cured with the help of a medical professional prescribing antibiotics and warm soaks to drain the nail bed. If left untreated, something more serious may be required, such as removal of the nail completely.