COVID Toes: Recently Discovered Symptom of the Coronavirus

We’re all familiar with the most common symptoms of COVID-19 – the cough, shortness of breath, and fever. But recent research indicates that skin conditions could also be a sign of coronavirus infection. Today Dr. Hubert Lee of CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing information regarding a condition that affects the toes. 

COVID toes is the name being used to describe the red-purple toes that have been reported in patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. The condition has been reported in both adults and children and does not usually resemble the severity of the COVID-19 infection.

COVID toes typically involve 1-3 toes and appear as lesions that are blue to red-purple and can be quite painful. They look very similar to pernio, a skin condition that often results from exposure to colder temperatures.

This skin condition usually shows up before the other common symptoms and could even be the only symptom a patient has. As the infection advances, the skin lesions can form a scab on the skin or a blister.

The good news is that this condition often resolves itself without treatment when the infection clears. If a patient is experiencing pain, topical-type corticosteroids can be used to improve the lesions and diminish the pain.

More importantly, COVID-toes may mislead patients to think they have COVID-19. And if the patient is exhibiting the severe onset of these skin discoveries, a viral form of testing may be recommended. Other skin conditions being reported from COVID-19 are a net-like red rash on the extremities and an outbreak on the body that is similar to chickenpox.

Not all red-purple toes are a sign of COVID-19, but anyone who has these symptoms should call their doctor, particularly if they persist or get worse.

If you or a loved one is noticing the symptoms associated with COVID toes, contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, at (425) 455-0936

Dr. Hubert Lee

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