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This Weird Change In Your Toes Could Mean You Have Coronavirus

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What Are COVID Toes? This Weird Change In Your Toes Could Mean You Have Coronavirus

The more we learn about COVID-19, the more we find out that some seriously strange symptoms can be connected to this complicated virus... and this time, it involves your feet. 

There's a new symptom called "COVID toes" that may be happening to people who suffer from coronavirus, and it's definitely something to watch out for while staying vigilant about your health.

What are COVID toes?

Here's what you need to know about this subtle change in your toes that may mean you have coronavirus.

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Some patients are experiencing skin issues around their toes and fingers that could be associated with COVID.


A post shared by Houston Foot & Ankle Care (@gmaislos) on Apr 17, 2020 at 11:59am PDT

According to dermatologist Dr. Amy Paller, COVID toes present with bright red or purple discoloration of the toes, fingers, and sometimes even the bottom of feet, and the skin can become itchy and painful. It's not a pretty condition so just by looking, most people will be able to tell what's going on, and the skin can even crack and blister. 

It's commonly happening to kids and teens and those with mild symptoms.

We already know that younger populations are more likely to experience mild symptoms than severe ones that could land them in the hospital, and it seems like this could be one of those symptoms. 

“We don’t know for sure if it’s related to COVID-19 but when it’s so common right now during a pandemic and is occurring in otherwise asymptomatic or mildly affected patients, it seems too much of a coincidence not to be a manifestation of the virus for patients in their teens and 20s," Dr. Paller said.

Even people who have tested negative for the virus are experiencing COVID toes.

However, there's also that chance of false negatives from the COVID test — and Paller also said that this condition sometimes happens after patients have begun to heal from the virus so at that point, it may not be present enough in their bodies to test positively, especially if the COVID toes happened to show themselves after the patient experienced more traditional viral symptoms of coronavirus earlier in the week. 

It could be the earliest symptom warning someone they have the virus.

Much like losing a sense of taste or smell, seeing this change in skin might be the very first sign that someone has coronavirus ... and it might even be the only symptom they experience.

“This is a manifestation that occurs early on in the disease, meaning you have this first, then you progress,” infectious disease expert Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach has said. “Sometimes this might be your first clue that they have COVID when they don’t have any other symptoms.”

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It could be caused by an inflammatory response in the body. 

There's no sure cause of COVID toes but right now, some doctors are connecting it to the way the body fights off a virus. 

“You get the infection, and then your body will release a cascade of inflammation,” said Dr. Susan Wilcox. “In many ways, it’s beneficial, but then sometimes it can either be too much, so the inflammation can lead to its own damage.”

The condition does eventually go away.


A post shared by Katie Caretti, MD, FAAD (@skindocgp) on Apr 22, 2020 at 10:10am PDT

The good news? As unsightly and uncomfortable COVID toes can be, they don't last forever. In most cases, they should go away within a week to 10 day period, although sometimes, some people will experience other symptoms of coronavirus past that time. Either way, it's definitely something to be on the lookout for — and a good reason to call a doctor if you start exhibiting these strange symptoms.

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.