Blistering distal dactylitis is a variant of streptococcal skin infection. It presents as a superficial, tender, blistering beta-haemolytic streptococcal infection over the anterior fat pad of the distal phalanx of the finger (Figure 5.40). The lesion may or may not have a paronychial extension. This blister, containing thin, white pus, has a predilection for the tip of the digit and extends to the subungual area of the free edge of the nail plate. The area may provide a nidus for the beta-haemolytic streptococcus and act as a focus of chronic infection similar to the nasopharynx. The age range of affected patients is 2-16 years. For local care incision, drainage and antiseptic soaking are indicated, giving a more rapid response than systemic antibiotic therapy alone: effective regimens include benzylpenicillin (penicillin G) in a single intramuscular dose, a 10-day course of oral phenoxymethylpenicillin or eryhromycin ethyl succinate. This type of treatment decreases the reservoir of streptococci by preventing spread to family contacts. This infection has been described as a complication of ingrowing toe nail. The differential diagnosis includes blisters resulting from friction, thermal and chemical burns, infectious states such as herpetic whitlow, staphylococcal bullous impetigo and the Weber-Cockayne variant of epidermolysis bullosa simplex.
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