COVID Toes has been in the news lately but what is it?

This is actually a condition called Pernio, or Chilblains, which is usually associated with an abnormal reaction of blood vessels in the feet to cold temperatures. It can be itchy or painful and is usually treated with warming techniques. It is more common in people who also have Raynaud’s’ phenomenon.

What does it have to do with COVID? Pernio isn’t super common and almost always occurs in winter. Yet this exact clinical picture is showing up more frequently lately, mostly in young adults, teens, and children but also in adults and it appears to be a rash that may be linked to COVID-19. COVID-19 can interfere with blood clotting mechanisms or blood vessel inflammation and creates some problems with blood vessels in the lungs, kidneys, and now….in the skin!

If you have noticed this on your feet, DO NOT PANIC! Most people who have experienced this do not typically have severe symptoms from the virus, and in fact, may be asymptomatic in every other way. COVID Toes usually resolves itself with no treatment.

However, if you do experience this, you SHOULD be tested for COVID and be vigilant about your health. You could be contagious to others; in addition, there have been cases where people with COVID toes have gone on to have respiratory issues.