As we continue to navigate the evolving COVID-19 situation, it seems every day we are learning new characteristics of the virus. Recently some unexpected symptoms have been reported, even in patients who otherwise are asymptomatic. One of these symptoms is a condition that has come to be known as “COVID Toes”, and we want to help educate you on how you can best identify this condition and how you should respond should the issue arise.
What are COVID toes?
Due to the new, unique nature of the virus, most of the ongoing research concerning the topic is strongly rooted in observation. Prior to COVID-19, this condition had never been observed, which leads us to believe it is specific to the virus. COVID toes usually begins with the patient noticing red or purple discoloration of the toes, and in some cases the skin can become raised or develop ulcerations.
It is important to note that contrary to the name, COVID toes can actually occur on the hands as well. These red and purple bumps usually occur on the top of the toes, on the sides of the feet, and/or on the tips and pads of the fingers.
Those who have experienced COVID toes say that the skin felt hot, burning, and itchy, and some experienced pain when the area was touched or when walking. For most patients, these symptoms persisted for approximately one week with a gradual decrease in pain.
While the research is ongoing, many experts believe that the condition is a result of the inflammation caused by COVID-19. It appears to be similar to a condition called “pernio” which results in inflammation due to exposure to cold temperatures. Another theory is that it is a result of blood vessel clots that occur in many COVID-19 patients. We are unable to determine how common the condition is due to the unclear percentage of the population that is currently or has previously been infected with the virus. However, observation suggests that the condition may be more common in younger patients and children who test positive for the virus.
Is there a treatment?
There is currently no treatment for COVID Toes as the condition typically resolves on its own over time. It is important that you contact your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms so that we can help determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
There are instances where underlying conditions could be the cause of your symptoms rather than the coronavirus, so our team will take your medical history into account to evaluate your specific situation and best develop a plan for how to proceed.
In some cases aspirin, steroids, and/or warming therapy may be prescribed to help you find some relief.
If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, even if you are asymptomatic for COVID-19, please contact our office today. While there is no definite treatment for COVID toes, we can help keep your feet more comfortable until the symptoms subside. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Tjoe Podiatry today.