The more we learn about COVID-19, the more we discover that some very strange symptoms can be linked to this complicated virus… and this time, it involves your feet.
There is a new symptom called “COVID toes” that can happen to people with coronavirus, and it is definitely something to watch out for while staying alert to your health.
What are COVID toes?
Here’s what you need to know about this subtle change in your toes which may mean you have coronavirus.
Some patients experience skin problems around the toes and fingers that may be associated with COVID.
According to dermatologist Dr. Amy Paller, COVID toes have a bright red or purple discoloration of the toes, fingers and sometimes even the bottom of the feet, and the skin can become itchy and painful. It is not a pretty condition so just by looking at it, most people will be able to tell what’s going on, and the skin can even crack and swell.
This often happens to children and adolescents and those with mild symptoms.
We already know that younger populations are more likely to experience mild symptoms than severe populations that could cause them in hospital, and it looks like it could be one of those symptoms.
“We are not sure if it is related to COVID-19, but when it is so common right now during a pandemic and occurs in otherwise asymptomatic or mildly affected patients, it seems too coincidental not to be a manifestation of the virus for patients in their teens and twenties, “said Dr. Paller.
Even people who test negative for the virus have COVID toes.
However, there is also this chance of a false negative from the COVID test – and Paller also stated that this condition sometimes occurs after patients have started to heal from the virus, so at this point it may not be sufficiently present in their body to test positive, especially if the COVID toes were revealed after the patient had more traditional coronavirus viral symptoms earlier in the week.
It could be the first symptom warning someone infected with the virus.
Like losing your sense of taste or smell, seeing this skin change could be the very first sign that someone has a coronavirus … and it might even be the only symptom they experience.
“This is a manifestation that occurs early in the disease, which means you have it first and then you progress,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach. “Sometimes it could be your first clue that they have COVID when they have no other symptoms. “
It could be caused by an inflammatory response in the body.
There is no safe cause for COVID toes but right now some doctors are connecting it to how the body fights a virus.
“You get the infection and then your body releases a cascade of inflammation,” said Dr. Susan Wilcox. “In many ways it is beneficial, but sometimes it can be too much, so inflammation can cause its own damage. “
The condition eventually disappears.
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 days, although sometimes people will experience other symptoms of the coronavirus after this period. Either way, it’s definitely something to watch out for – and a good reason to call a doctor if you start experiencing these strange symptoms.
Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has been published in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.