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March 1972

Syphilitic Paronychia: An Unusual Complaint

Author Affiliations

Little Rock, Ark

Arch Dermatol. 1972;105(3):458. doi:10.1001/archderm.1972.01620060088021

To the Editor.—  Paronychia has been said to be the most frequent form of nail involvement in syphilis.1-4 Pardo-Castello and Pardo report having seen many cases where ulcerative paronychia ". . . was the only apparent symptom of cutaneous syphilis, or at the most was accompanied by interdigital macerated papules of erosive character."5 However, in the 6,047 cases of syphilis observed by Bergh from 1864 to 1874, at the Copenhagen Hospital, only four cases of syphilis of the nail were observed.2 Samman reports that the nail changes of syphilis are rare in England.6 Case reports of syphilitic paronychia are decidedly unusual.7-9 We recently saw a young woman whose presenting complaint was painful paronychia.

Report of a Case  A 40-year-old Negro woman was examined at the University of Arkansas Dermatology Clinic in May 1971. Her chief complaint was marked pain and tenderness of her fingertips of eight weeks' duration.

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