Paranychia can be extremely painful and I see it quite often in people who have just had a manicure or pedicure (DIY or in a nail salon). The presence of an paranychia should be explored as, if it is associated with some local event such as cutting the affected digit or having had your nails cut and then become painful, it is quite likely there is an infection.
Although an infection is not a good thing to have, it is not necessarily something panic about. Good hygiene routines such as salt water bathing, application of anti-bacterial treatments, use of sterile dressings and sometimes releasing any infected pus can be highly beneficial.
Other times, it might be that a small edge of nail or hard skin needs to be removed to allow the soft tissue to stop being irritated.
As an HCPC registered podiatrist, I can issue a selection of antibioitcs for you at your appointment, and I can also write to your GP if you need an antibioitc that I cannot issue.
This means that there is inflammation, and probably an infection in the skin around the nail. This can be an early sign of an ingrowing toenail, but can also be the result of an infection getting under the cuticle