A dermatologist yesterday advised people to avoid clipping their nails too short after the practice caused a fifth-grade elementary student to suffer from a painful condition called paronychia, an infection of the soft tissue surrounding the nail.
According to Shu-Tien Clinic dermatologist Hsu Chia-chi (徐嘉琪), the boy had experienced on-and-off pain in both of his big toes for nearly six months and the condition was aggravated if he ran or jumped.
“The condition made walking a misery for the child. We had attempted to remove part of the nails from the boy’s toes to assuage his discomfort, but the left toe became severely inflamed, with granulation tissue forming a month later, leading us to believe he had developed paronychia,” Hsu said.
Hsu said paronychia can afflict people at any age and that it is characterized by soft tissue inflammation around a nail that can trigger swelling and pain.
The boy was put on antibiotics and underwent an electrocautery procedure, and then wore nail correction patches for two months, Hsu said.
“He also followed our advice that he alter the way he cut his nails and wear shoes with wide fronts, and has recovered well,” she added.
Hsu said most patients with paronychia tended to trim their nails short and round, and to clean the dirt from underneath, which she said can cause the nail to grow inward and enter the skin, which increases the risk of paronychia.
It is advised that people leave at least a 1mm gap around the edge of the nail and shape it square rather than round or triangular, Hsu said, adding that the best time to cut nails is after a shower because the warm water softens them and makes them easier to trim.
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