As the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, new symptoms of the virus continue to be appreciated. One symptom, red or purple lesions on the toes and hands, has been called “Covid toes”.
We live in a world that is facing a global pandemic. A new virus has affected numerous individuals across the planet. Researchers, scientists, and medical professionals are doing all they can to better understand this new virus to better treat the population. As we learn more about the virus causing Covid-19, we begin to see different manifestations of this virus. One such manifestation that has received attention is red or purple lesions of toes and hands. This has been dubbed “Covid Toes”.
What do Covid Toes look like?
There have been reports and case studies of patients experiencing Pernio-like lesions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Pernio, also called Chilblains, is a condition where you can have red or purple tender bumps on the fingers and toes and is usually related to exposure to cold temperatures. Covid Toes are these Pernio-like lesions, however, many of these lesions appreciated during the pandemic are not having any exposure to cold temperatures. We are still unsure if Covid Toes and Pernio occur by the same process.
Are patients with Covid Toes Infectious?
We are still learning all we can in regards to this new virus and the symptoms it can cause. There appear to be some who develop these lesions that are testing positive for the virus, meaning they are infectious. However, in some people, it appears that these lesions are occurring after a patient has recovered from the virus. It is important to remember, that if you are ill, or suspect you may have Covid-19, you should follow the recommendations of the CDC and your local health department in regard to testing and self-isolation.
Who is developing Covid Toes?
It appears that, for the most part, those that develop Covid Toes are generally the younger and more healthy patients. Although there appear to be some reports and older and sicker patients developing these lesions, it does appear to be mostly the younger and healthy patients that are experiencing these lesions.
What is the mechanism behind Covid Toes?
The mechanism is still not clear. Skin manifestations are often seen in viral infections, such as measles, for example. One theory is that small clots clog the small vessels that lead to the toes.
How are Covid Toes treated?
Remember, that Covid Toes is still extremely rare. It is still important to monitor for the more common symptoms of Coronavirus, such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, chills, and loss of taste or smell. If you do experience these symptoms, please reach out to your primary care provider. When it does come to Covid Toes, these Pernio-like lesions appear to go away on their own in 2-3 weeks without any treatment.
As we continue to learn more about this virus and its manifestations, it is important to keep a close eye on your own health and not be afraid to reach out to a provider and ask questions. Most providers provide telehealth appointments. At Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle, we also provide telehealth appointments by request.