Inflammation of the nail bed in babies


In the case of an inflammation of the nail bed (panaritium), inflammation of the nail fold, the nail bed and in some cases also the surrounding structures occurs. The causative agent of this disease can be bacteria for example streptococci or staphylococci. However, there is also a possibility that the trigger could be a fungal infection or a viral infection such as a herpes. The pathogens can migrate through the smallest tears in the nail fold or nail wall and trigger the inflammation there.


In terms of symptoms, it is important at what stage the disease is. The disease usually begins with inflammation of the nail walls (paronychia) and then progresses to inflammation of the nail bed (panaritium subungunale). At this stage, the pus is clearly visible under the nail and usually causes pain. A tenderness to pressure can often be found here. The affected babies usually cry a lot because of the pain. The affected finger or toe (please refer: Inflammation of the nail bed on the toe) is also very red and overheated.

If the inflammation is not treated or by your own immune system Dislodging the babies, the nail bed inflammation can also affect the encroach on superficial layers of skin (Panaritium subcutaneous). Of course, the disease can progress and become one Withdrawal of the upper layer of skin (Epidermis) lead to blistering, this stage is also known as panaritium cutaneum. It can also happen that the nail bed inflammation does not stay with these superficial forms, but penetrates even deeper into the tissue. These forms are then the deep forms of nail bed inflammation. For one, the inflammation can be due to the bone overlap (Panaritium ossale), on the other hand there is a risk that the Tendons inflame (Panaritium tendinosum). It can also infest the Joints come when the inflammation has the opportunity to spread unchecked (panaritium articulare). In the case of a deep inflammation of the nail bed, the affected babies have the greatest pain and adopt a relieving posture with the affected joints. If there is a deep inflammation of the nail bed, it can also lead to the development of general inflammation symptoms such as fever, chills and one increased tiredness come. It can also happen to the nail its shape and color changes and falls off.

Because babies and toddlers are not that well developed immune system as adults have, they can more easily infect with the pathogens. If the immune system is not so good, these can of course spread much better and faster in babies than in adults.

Inflammation of the nail bed in a baby with a fever

An inflammation of the nail bed is a local, i.e. localized, inflammation of the nail bed. Fever, on the other hand, is a sign that systemic inflammation is occurring throughout the entire body. Therefore, fever does not usually occur with inflammation of the nail bed. If this is still the case, a pediatrician should be consulted. This means that the baby is either sick with something else or the inflammation has spread from the nail bed. Both are situations that should be clarified more precisely.

Inflammation of the nail bed in babies with pus

The formation of pus is not a necessary symptom of inflammation. This means that the nail bed can be inflamed even if no pus can be seen. If there is pus, it should be removed. If the pus escapes from the inflamed wound on its own, you can help a little by gently “squeezing out” the area. However, only ever do this with clean hands and then thoroughly disinfect the inflamed area.

However, if the skin over the inflammation is clearly swollen and a yellowish discoloration of the area can be seen underneath without pus emerging, the pus may collect below the skin. This pus needs to be removed by a doctor. To do this, a small incision is made to “relieve the inflammation focus”, thus creating an outlet for the pus to drain off. It is therefore advisable to consult a doctor if pus occurs, who can remove the pus and take a closer look at the inflamed area, also to clarify the cause.

How dangerous is nail bed inflammation in babies?

Inflammation of the nail bed in babies is usually not dangerous because it is a small, localized inflammation. However, it should be treated carefully and consistently, as nail bed inflammation can be very uncomfortable and painful for babies - anyone who has had one knows that it hurts a lot if you just lightly poke an inflamed nail. It only becomes dangerous when the inflammation spreads and is not treated properly. However, this only happens very rarely and is definitely an exceptional situation.

When do you need antibiotics?

Antibiotics are only needed if the nail bed inflammation is really stubborn and all other therapy options, such as home remedies and care with disinfectants containing iodine, have been exhausted. This means that antibiotics should only be considered after about two weeks, because the body needs that much time anyway to heal a small open area on its own.

Antibiotics are also needed if the inflammation spreads and there is, for example, an inflammation of the surrounding lymph vessels, also known as blood poisoning. Fortunately, this rarely happens. If the nail bed inflammation does not improve noticeably after two weeks, a pediatrician should be consulted.

You can also read our topic here: Blood poisoning in the baby


How long nail bed inflammation lasts depends on many different factors. In general, the body needs twelve days to heal smaller wounds by itself. So if it is a simple inflammation of the nail bed, it should clear up after about two weeks. However, if it is not treated properly or the cause, such as a pressure point from a shoe that is too small, is not corrected, nail bed inflammation can last for several weeks.


Often that already results clinical picture, how pus under the nail, overheating and reddening of the affected finger, the diagnosis of nail bed inflammation. Of course they can too Inflammation parameters in the blood be removed. These are values ​​like that Blood sink rate (ESR), which is increased with an existing inflammation; or like that C-reactive protein, which is also greatly increased in the presence of inflammation.

From one X-ray examination in babies or toddlers is to be expected, as the symptoms are usually very clear, while the radiation exposure of the X-ray is just too high for little people.


Since the Inflammation of the nail bed is usually recognized at an early stage, this is usually enough Opening of the pus focus with a small needle and subsequent disinfection with a antiseptic ointment such as Betaisodona® ointment.

If it's a more advanced form the superficial nail bed inflammation is a doctor should be consulted very promptly so that he then either one antibiotic ointment, for example with ampicillin, can prescribe or den Clear out the wound source can. In babies and toddlers, the removal of the wound (debridement) is usually done under one local anesthesia as this can be very painful for the children.

Then there is a Immobilization the affected finger or hand. With a deep form of the nail bed inflammation, so even if Tendons, bone or and Joints are affected, depending on the severity and pathogen, an oral or intravenous form of the Antibiotic therapy elected. It should be noted that Antibiotics only take effect in the most common forms of nail bed inflammation, i.e. infections with bacteria such as staphylococci or streptococci, but not with infections with fungi or viruses. If you are infected with fungi you should Antifungal drugs and with a viral infection Antivirals to get voted.

Home remedies

There are a number of home remedies that can be used to treat nail bed inflammation in babies. First of all, as always with inflammation, heat should be avoided. You can carefully cool the affected area. Quark compresses are a good choice here because they are not too cold, so they cannot lead to frostbite, and they can be easily adapted to the shape of the nail. To do this, fill a kitchen towel or burp cloth with some cold, fresh quark, wrap it and place this "bag" on the inflamed area. It can stay there until it is no longer cold.

In addition, the inflamed area should always be kept clean. Pure alcohol-based disinfectants can be used, but should only be used carefully as they burn heavily in open areas. Disinfectants containing iodine are better. Before doing this, however, you should always use a lukewarm footbath with a little soap, for example baby shampoo, to clean the inflamed area.

Since the little ones like to suckle and play around with everything they can get their hands on, it is advisable to cover the area with a plaster. Moist chamomile tea bags, rosemary baths and marigold baths are also anti-inflammatory and can be used. But always be careful: the tea bag must no longer be warm and the baths should be carried out with lukewarm water.


There are various homeopathic medicines that can be used for nail bed inflammation. Medicines containing Hepar sulfaris help with purulent inflammation. Long-lasting, stubborn inflammation can be treated with Silicea terra, silica. Remedies close to belladone help with pulsating pain, with sharp pain those that contain Apis mellifica. Before taking it, however, you should consult a doctor or homeopath, because depending on the exact constellation of symptoms, other medicines could also have a positive effect.


Since the Pathogenswho trigger nail bed inflammation over small wounds about the skin On the one hand, you should make sure that you and your baby get the nails before cutting hands have washed. If your baby is prone to inflammation of the nail bed, you can disinfect the nail scissors before cutting the nail. In the event that there are minor injuries Nail bed, the nail wall or nail fold should come directly with a antiseptic ointment be prevented. Basically, good hygiene in dealing with the child helps to protect them from such diseases. Of course, this rule applies not only to nail bed inflammation, but to all areas in which your baby or toddler has one potential hazard is at the mercy of his health.

root cause

The causes of inflammation of the nail bed are bacteria or fungi that penetrate the nail bed through open areas in the skin. There they then cause inflammation. Open areas are caused, for example, by dry and torn cuticles, torn nails or pressure points. Pressure sores can be caused by shoes that are too small or incorrect nail care.

But what is wrong nail care and how is it then "right"? First of all, baby nails should be cut regularly. Make sure that the nails are cut off round and the edges are filed down so that no sharp points protrude. The nails on the toes should not be cut down too deeply at the sides, because this encourages the nails to grow into the cuticle, which in turn can lead to pressure points and injuries. The nails and cuticles should be moisturized regularly to prevent dryness. However, the toes in particular should not be wrapped too thickly so that the baby does not sweat too much on the feet and bacteria have an easy time of it. Depending on the cause, it should be checked whether there is adequate tetanus protection.


Inflammation of the nail bed is a more common disease in children and adolescents; in this age group, their development is usually promoted by nail biting or biting, as well as by tearing nails. The not so rare occurrence of nail bed inflammation in babies is mainly due to the weaker immune system, which has no way of defending itself against this type of pathogen. Exact figures on the incidence of nail bed inflammation in babies in Germany cannot be precisely determined, which is due to the fact that the child does not always see a doctor with every slight nail bed inflammation.

This handling of slight inflammation of the nail bed is also perfectly fine, the parents should only make sure that the inflammation does not spread any further. The severe and deeper forms of nail bed inflammation occur very rarely in the industrialized nations due to the good medical care and the high hygiene standards that parents usually have themselves when dealing with their babies. If a deep shape is emerging, it is important to consult a doctor immediately to avoid consequential damage. If you are unsure about the treatment of your baby's or toddler's nail bed inflammation, do not hesitate to consult a doctor early to prevent possible consequential damage.


Inflammation of the nail bed in the baby's toe

The symptoms of inflammation of the nail bed are the classic signs of inflammation, redness, swelling and warming of the area around the nail. It is also extremely painful, as shown in babies by increased screaming, crying, and whining. Fortunately, nail bed inflammation on the baby's toe is rare because the nail and skin are still quite flexible and soft.

However, when shortening the nails, care should be taken not to cut too deeply into the nail at the edges, but rather to leave it slightly angular. This prevents the nail from growing sideways into the nail bed. If it does this, it presses on the sensitive skin and leads to the smallest injuries and pressure points, which can subsequently become inflamed.

Inflammation of the nail bed in the baby on the finger

Inflammation of the nail bed can also occur on the fingernails. They show up with the same symptoms as on the toe, i.e. in the form of reddening, swelling, warming and tenderness of the nail bed. Nail inflammation on the finger is usually a little less painful, which is why babies react less to it. Nevertheless, the inflammation should be treated with the same care here too.

The same home remedies can be used.In particular, inflammation of the nail bed on the finger should be cleaned and bandaged regularly to prevent further bacteria from entering the wound.