What Are COVID Toes & How Are They Treated?

When it comes to news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 (the condition caused by the virus), misinformation abounds. From the idea that holding your breath can diagnose the disease to the suggestion that disinfectants may work inside the body, there’s plenty that’s hard to believe. But, have you heard of COVID Toes?

No, I’m not about to tell you gullible is written on the ceiling. COVID Toes is a real phenomenon that has been recorded in the younger population (teens and young adults) as a potential symptom of COVID-19.


What Are COVID Toes?

COVID Toes is the term for a symptom that seems to be popping up more and more often as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues. Young persons have been reporting purple discolorations and lesions on their toes following a flu-like illness. Some patients report mild to no illness before the lesions form.


What Are the Symptoms of COVID Toes?

Patients diagnosed with COVID toe symptoms experienced purple or red discolorations of the toes, varying from just a few to all toes. Most often, this was accompanied by lesions (sores) forming on the toes or bottom of the foot. Sensitivity can be such that it is too painful to put on socks or shoes.


Why Do COVID Toes Happen?

This is a tricky one. The symptoms seem to present like other circulatory and inflammatory disorders, suggesting the direct cause of this symptom is the blockage of small blood vessels in the toes. But in some ways, this isn’t a strange symptom at all.

Inflammatory responses to viral infections are common. It’s why the measles and chickenpox present with splotchy rashes. This type of symptom is an indication that the body is fighting an infection. Unfortunately, podiatrists and dermatologists are still a little stumped as to why these symptoms are appearing specifically on the toes or primarily in the younger population.


What Else Could COVID Toes Be?

At first, many of these patients were being diagnosed with Raynaud’s (a circulatory issue causing skin discoloration and pain) or chilblains (a mild form of frostbite). However, both of these conditions tend to occur during colder weather due to circulation and temperature exposure. COVID toes may also present with bruised coloring without a recent trauma, and skin lesions or sores.


Should I Worry About COVID Toes?

Right now, there’s not enough knowledge available to truly understand this particular symptom. Too little research has been conducted or data compared to indicate who may be at greater risk for COVID toes. However, dermatologists and podiatrists and currently proposing that a diagnosis of COVID toes be grounds for getting a COVID-19 test.


Could I Have COVID Toes?

Although COVID toes have been reported primarily in the younger age groups, the same symptoms have appeared in middle age and geriatric patients alike. If you have sudden discoloration of the toes, your toes feel cool to the touch, you have toe pain, or see lesions forming, call the FAAWC right away for an appointment.

If your symptoms are occurring while you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are under a quarantine such as when you have been exposed to others who tested positive, we can arrange a virtual Telehealth visit with one of our providers. Call the FAAWC today to schedule.

Leave a reply