What To Know About COVID Toes

March 6, 2024 6:47 pm Published by

COVID-19 has impacted millions of people around the world. Even experts agree that the pandemic caught us off guard. As we learn more about the side effects of COVID-19, new terms are being used to label symptoms and help people understand what they should do to keep themselves and their families safe.
One of these new terms, COVID toes, is used to describe a condition affecting the feet of those who have COVID-19. Here, we’ll discuss what COVID toes are as well as their symptoms and what you can do should your symptoms persist.

What To Know About COVID Toes

What Are COVID Toes?

COVID toes are used to describe certain symptoms that affect the feet of people who have contracted COVID-19. It’s important to note that although these specific symptoms are commonly found in your toes, your fingers may also be affected.

For some people, COVID toes are the only sign that they have the virus.

COVID-19 symptoms in your toes may include:

  • Toes swelling and red or purple discoloration
  • Itching and discomfort
  • Raised bumps
  • Some pus under the skin near your toenails

Doctors around the world have noticed that some patients who test positive for the coronavirus develop discolored and swollen toes. It’s currently unknown whether COVID toes themselves are contagious, but remember that you may pass on the virus itself if you have symptoms.

COVID Toes in Young Adults, Teens, and Children

Although these symptoms can appear at any age, COVID toes in young children, teenagers, and young adults seem more common than other age groups. Usually, young COVID-19 patients are otherwise healthy. Many never develop other, more common symptoms of COVID-19, such as a dry cough and fever, which are common in older age groups.

When children do display symptoms of COVID-19, the symptoms are often mild. Keep in mind that young children who have not developed symptoms but were exposed to the virus could still have contracted COVID-19 and be contagious.

What Do COVID Toes Look Like?

The discoloration and swelling common to this condition can start on one or several toes or fingers. In fact, many people don’t know they have COVID toes until they see the red or purple discoloration. You may initially see a red discoloration that gradually transitions to a purplish tone. However, no toes are the same. Discoloration can also be purple in hue from the beginning.

COVID Toes Treatment Options

In many cases, symptoms go away on their own. However, if there is pain or itching, you can apply a hydrocortisone cream to the affected area for relief. Be sure to monitor for improvement, but be aware that COVID toes can last for months in some cases. Like with other sores on your feet, avoid the pressure from tight shoes to prevent further discomfort.

Even if your symptoms are mild, you may still have COVID-19 and could be contagious. To help keep your family and loved ones safe, it’s strongly recommended that you get tested.

It May Not Be COVID Toes

There are other reasons why your feet may be swollen or discolored. Some winter foot conditions that cause similar symptoms include:

  • Decreased circulation
  • Ill-fitting footwear
  • Chilblains

In addition to a COVID-19 test, you may be able to rule out COVID toes if your symptoms disappear when you change your footwear, keep your feet warm and dry, and use stretches to improve your circulation.

If You’re Unsure About COVID Toes, We Can Help

It can be difficult to determine what foot condition you may have. That’s where a podiatrist can help. To get your feet dancing again, schedule an appointment with The Foot & Ankle Group today.


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