We all have heard about the typical COVID-19 symptoms that include, but are not limited to: new dry cough, fever or chills, sore throat, difficulty breathing, chest pain, feeling confused, loss of consciousness, difficulty swallowing, runny nose, hoarse voice, headache, loss of taste or smell, digestive issues (nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain), extreme fatigue, etc.
There are also other atypical and less frequent symptoms.
Chiropodists may be one of the first care providers who notice one of these symptoms called COVID Toes. This condition can happen on the side of the foot as well as under the heel. COVID Toes condition is recognized by chiropody, dermatology, and pediatric communities.
It is reported as a discoloration of the toes (also can occur in fingers) that are “purple lesions”. They may appear before or without other COVID-19 symptoms. This condition usually starts with red, pink or purple discoloration, sometimes similar to chilblain. The skin manifestations can range from rashes, discoloration, blisters, and or superficial ulcerations (wound). Patients with COVID toes may report the skin of the toes feels hot, burning or itchy. Some people report discomfort, pain and soreness, that can last about one week and gradually goes away.
Currently, there are several hypotheses about why COVID Toes can happen. Some say severe inflammation of the small vessels plays a role, some say that the symptom is due to blood vessel clots, and some consider a mix of both. Based on the recent updates, the condition is more common in youth and children, but can also occur in adults. Children can have only COVID Toes without other typical symptoms.
This condition usually resolves by itself but if the patient is experiencing discomfort, topical steroids (as long as there is no wound or infection) and warming the digits can be helpful. There are very rare but severe cases of covid toes reported that ended up with necrosis and amputation but this is not a common outcome.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: There are other conditions that resemble COVID Toes such as: drug reaction, any respiratory viral infection, connective tissue disorders, chilblains, vasculitis, etc. If you think you have COVID Toes, you should consult with your chiropodist or family doctor. Best practice is to self-isolate for 14 days if confirmed.
If you have any question click here and connect with us: CONTACT US.
Please read our office policy regarding COVID-19 HERE.
If you think you may have COVID-19 infection, here is an online self-assessment tool for COVID-19 in Ontario: CLICK HERE.