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  • Writer's pictureDr. Teresa Propato


Updated: Apr 21, 2020

This is what the red-purple lesion’s on the toes (and fingers) are being referred to by the dermatology and podiatric communities, and are only one of the skin conditions that are being seen in younger patients infected with COVID-19.

The condition appears as red or purple discoloration on the toes or fingers, and the skin may become raised or develop ulcerations. This is similar to pernio, a condition caused by exposure to cold temperatures, resulting in inflammation which can also appear as skin sores or bumps. These lesions can be quite tender or itchy.

With "COVID-Toes", the cause is unclear, however, specialists theorize that the development of these lesions may be from blood vessels that develop clots or inflammation caused by the virus. This same presentation can be seen with other viral infections, as well as related to other medical conditions.

Earlier this month reports from Italy, Spain and Thailand have recently indicated that a skin rash might be another symptom of COVID-19. This report showed that approximately 20% of confirmed COVID-19 patients developed skin symptoms, mainly on the torso. In the United states, the percentage of patients demonstrating "COVID-toes" or other skin conditions on the body is unclear.

To gather more information, a national registry was launched last week to allow patients who have been confirmed COVID-19 positive to report any skin manifestations. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you can access the registry here to report any skin lesions or rashes.

There's no specific treatment for these lesions, and they tend to resolve on their own. However, you should notify your podiatrist or dermatologist if you notice these lesions. The importance of recognizing these lesions is that they may be the first symptom of the virus and may qualify you for testing and potentially prevent you from infecting others., Photo by Dr. Tracey Vlahovic D.P.M

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