What Are Covid Toes’ Questions Resurface After Aaron Rodgers Comment
Questions surrounding a skin condition in toes believed to be linked to coronavirus have resurfaced after Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he was experiencing what’s now known as “COVID toes.”
In his Tuesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers mentioned that he has “COVID toe.”
COVID toe is a painful skin condition that stems from the body’s immune response to COVID-19. Rodgers has been dealing with a nagging toe injury, though he said his issue is with his bone and it remains unclear if the COVID toe has played a role. The Green Bay Packers’ quarterback is scheduled to speak with reporters on Wednesday.
Cases of the mysterious skin condition that causes purple, blue or red discoloration in toes and occasionally fingers began popping up around the country early on during the pandemic, according to Northwestern doctors, leading some dermatologists to wonder if it may be connected to coronavirus.
The bizarre symptom, which in some cases can last for months, has been reported throughout the pandemic, though COVID toes are not as prevalent as other common symptoms associated with the virus.
Doctors said the condition appears similar to one known as pernio, which happens in response to cold, but “COVID toes” varies from bright red to purple and affects broader areas of the toes and sometimes even the bottoms of feet and fingers. Feet can occasionally become itchy, painful or may show no other symptoms besides discoloration.
/5all You Need To Know About Covid Toes
The novel coronavirus has impacted people in various ways. From taking a toll on respiratory health and other vital organs, the SARs-COV-2 virus has also affected people’s fingers and toes. While it may not seem very dangerous, it can lead to discomfort and pain. Currently termed as ‘COVID toes’, while rare, it is said to be more prone in younger patients. A 13-year-old teenager recently reported suffering from the ailment, which prevented her from walking and also made it difficult for her to wear shoes. That said, for those of you, unaware of this unusual COVID effect, here’s what it is and everything else you need to know.
New Or Ongoing Symptoms
Some people experience a range of new or ongoing symptoms that can last weeks or months after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Unlike some of the other types of post-COVID conditions that tend only to occur in people who have had severe illness, these symptoms can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19, even if the illness was mild, or if they had no initial symptoms. People commonly report experiencing different combinations of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Change in smell or taste
- Changes in menstrual period cycles
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What Are Covid Toes
There are a number of symptoms that are associated with the COVID toes phenomenon. Typically, the condition presents as toes that are painful and swollen, and covered with reddish or purple lesions or bumps. Sometimes these lesions can appear on the soles of your feet as well. In some cases the pain, tenderness, and itchiness can be severe.
How Do We Know Its Linked To Covid
Many viral infections are known to produce skin changes. We also know Covid19 can affect different organ systems in the body, so it makes sense that this might also include the skin.
A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 was present in skin biopsies in children with symptoms of Covid toes, despite them having negative Covid test results. Analyses detected the virus in the skins endothelial cells , as well as in the sweat glands.
Our findings support a causal relation of SARS-CoV-2 with Covid toes, said lead author Isabel Colmenero, a doctor at Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús, in Spain. Endothelial damage induced by the virus could be the key mechanism causing these lesions.
Another study found no evidence of SARSCoV2 infection in the large majority of patients with chilblain symptoms during lockdown in France. However, researchers concluded the results of the survey dont rule out that the virus could be directly responsible for some cases of chilblains.
Its also important to note that if these symptoms are appearing towards the end of the illness, a Covid-19 test wouldnt necessarily pick up the virus as they only work within the first few days of experiencing symptoms.
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How Are Covid Toes Treated
Fortunately, treatment for COVID toes is pretty straightforward as the body recovers from COVID-19, the condition typically resolves on its own.
However, if COVID toes persist, our board-certified dermatologists recommend visiting a professional for a thorough evaluation and diagnosis. For treatment, your physician may recommend a topical prescription.
What Has The New Study Revealed
Previous studies conducted last year suggested that the unexplained lesions could be an effect of the bodys fight against the virus.
The latest research, based on blood and skin tests, suggests Covid toe may involve two parts of the immune system.
The first is a chemical called interferon, which is the bodys natural antiviral, explained Dr Bristow. It reduces the viruss ability to replicate and flushes it through the system.
It can eliminate the virus to the point where it is asymptomatic- but a side affect is that large amounts of interferon can result in chilblains. Many young people can release large quantities of interferon.
The latest research paper compared 13 people with cold-induced chilblains with 50 people suffering from Covid-induced chilblains and found subtle differences associated with interferon release, said Dr Bristow.
Children and young adults who develop Covid toe rarely have a positive Covid test and it is thought that the body does not have time to generate immunity because the virus is flushed out of the body so quickly.
The second mechanism appears to be cells lining small blood vessels supplying the affected areas, researchers from the University of Paris also found.
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Coronavirus Rash Appears In Many Ways
Many diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, cause a distinctive rash that helps doctors diagnose a patient. COVID-19 is different. There is no single COVID-19 rash.
What you may see: You can have COVID-19 and never develop a rash. When a patient with COVID-19 does develop a rash, it can look like any of the following:
Blisters that look like chickenpox
Round, pinpoint spots on the skin
Large patch with several smaller ones
A lace-like pattern on the skin
Flat spots and raised bumps that join together
Symptoms: Some rashes itch.
Treatment: Some rashes require medical treatment.
Keep in mind that you can have a rash thats due to a condition other than COVID-19. If you develop a rash, contact your doctor.
So Why Are We Hearing So Much About Covid Toes And Rashes
The newer symptoms that have been emerging just go to show how people can react to infections in different ways. Some of these symptoms actually arent new in the realm of viral infections. Dr. Choi says its actually quite common for people to get rashes when theyre battling this type of infection, especially viral respiratory ones.
Its not uncommon for someone to have a viral infection and have a rash or blotchy areas on their body. This can happen with other viral respiratory infections like measles. And sometimes, antibiotics might cause skin rashes, says Dr. Choi. But at this time, there is no specific rash pattern thats associated with COVID-19.
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If You Notice A Rash Or Covid Toes In Addition To Common Symptoms Of Covid
Dr. Choi again emphasizes that COVID toes, like rashes, are still pretty uncommon right at this point in time. When it comes to monitoring symptoms, the common ones mentioned earlier would occur before anything else. Should you notice a rash or COVID toes in addition to the common symptoms of the coronavirus, its best to contact your healthcare provider sooner than later.
During the pandemic, when someone has a specific symptom and theyre wondering whether that could be from COVID-19, my best advice would be to get tested, says Dr. Choi.
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The analysis, which will be discussed at the 29th European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology Congress, may have implications for understanding other prolonged symptoms in COVID-19 long-haulers, Freeman said.
“This data adds to our knowledge about how COVID-19 can affect multiple different organ systems, even after patients have recovered from their acute infection,” said Freeman in a press release. “The skin can provide a visual window into inflammation that may be going on elsewhere in the body.”
While some of the long-lasting symptoms may sound frightening, Freeman emphasized that it was only in a small number of patients and does not seem to lead to any significant health risk.
” go away relatively quickly, and they go away on their own, and they don’t seem to have a lot of long-lasting effect,” she said. “I don’t want people to panic. I think it’s important to be reassured that this is generally associated with pretty mild disease … It’s just important to recognize that there is a subgroup of patients that seemed to have these really long-lasting persistent symptoms and that’s a group we need to further understand.”
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What Does The Rash Look Like
Most illnesses that manifest on the skin have distinct rashes, but COVID-related rashes can take on many different appearances. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , COVID rashes can manifest as “a patchy rash, itchy bumps, blisters that look like chickenpox, round, pinpoint spots on the skin, a large patch with several smaller ones, a lace-like pattern on the skin, or lat spots and raised bumps that join together.” If your rash resembles any of these descriptions, you should talk to your doctor. And for more up-to-date COVID news delivered straight to your inbox, .
How To Tell If You Have Covid Toes And What You Should Do To Treat Them
Theres still so much we dont know about COVID-19, even after all these months. One of the strangest things about the disease is the wide variety of symptoms it can produce.
Sure, most people who contract the infection show mainly or only the classic symptoms of an upper respiratory disease: coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, and aching muscles. But others have had things like severe blood clots, kidney damage, rashes, diarrheaand also a puzzling foot condition thats being called COVID toes .
At Capital Podiatry Associates, weve started to see patients with these symptoms, and the good news is that we are very likely able to help you.
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Are Covid Toes Contagious
Research into this question is still early, so experts dont know the answer yet. Of course, COVID is contagious. But just because one person has COVID and COVID toes doesnt mean that if they pass the virus to someone else, that person will also get COVID toes.
If you think you have COVID toes or any symptoms of the coronavirus, stay home, call your doctor right away, and ask if you should get tested for COVID. This is extra important if you havent gotten the COVID vaccine, or if you live with people who havent gotten it.
How Long Does Covid Toe Last
Covid toe can be painless, but for some it is sore and itchy with blisters and swelling. It typically resolves itself within two to three weeks, but a small proportion of patients have had persistent chilblains for months.
Dr Bristow said it could be associated with long Covid, and the symptoms can be painful, making life pretty miserable for people whove got them.
If symptoms persist, Dr Bristow advises speaking to a doctor to seek treatment and rule out other causes such as Raynauds disease and a type of lupus that can mimic chilblains.
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Is There A Treatment
A doctor may refer some patients to a specialist, such as a dermatologist, to treat the affected skin.
Various treatments are currently being tried, such as topical corticosteroids, which can be applied directly to the skin to reduce inflammation and irritation.
Occasionally, patients can be prescribed drugs that cause vasodilation, widening the blood vessels.
In this age, we are still learning what is the most effective, said Dr Bristow.
How Doctors Identified Covid Toes As A Possible Coronavirus Symptom
If someone is exposed to damp, cold weather, theres a small likelihood they may experience something called chilblains, also known in the medical community as perniosis or pernio, according to the University of Michigan. People with pernio may get skin bumps, redness, and swelling on their toes and fingers because of inflammation in the small blood vessels of the skin, per the Mayo Clinic.
Doctors in Europe noticed that these pernio-like red bumps and lesions were starting to show up on the toes and sometimes hands of certain people who tested positive for COVID-19.
When Spain and Italy had their initial coronavirus outbreak, dermatologists started to talk about the symptoms they were seeing on patients toes, and American dermatologists were then connected with European dermatologists, says Dr. Fox. Then we started to see more patients with these same pernio-like lesions in the United States.
European podiatrists picked up on the trend. Podiatrists in Spain reported that mainly children and adolescents had some dermatological lesions on their feet and toes, sometimes in the absence of other COVID-19 symptoms, says Dr. Petkov.
While pernio isnt unusual, Fox says whats surprising is that the patients got these pernio-like lesions after the colder months had already passed in Spain and Italy. The fact that the spontaneous spike in occurrences paralleled the coronavirus pandemic also raised alarms.
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Important Ways To Slow The Spread Of Covid
If you are NOT yet fully vaccinated, prevent long-term complications by protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.
Although media articles have reported that some people with post-COVID conditions say their symptoms improved after being vaccinated, studies are needed to determine the effects of vaccination on post-COVID conditions.
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Covid Toes Rashes: How The Coronavirus Can Affect Your Skin
If you develop a rash, tell your doctor
A rash may be a sign of COVID-19. A rash can also be a sign of another disease.
If youre on the lookout for symptoms of COVID-19, youre likely watching for a dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. You may also want to check your skin.
While less common, the coronavirus can affect your skin. For some people, this may be the only sign of a coronavirus infection.
/5are There Any Specific Causes
Up until now, there have been no specific causes behind COVID toes, however, research is still ongoing.
Experts believe that COVID toes is an outcome of the immune system reacting to an active coronavirus infection. That means it could be an antiviral immune response triggered by the immune system of younger patients, which in turn results in changes in microangiopathic – small blood vessel disease.
Another theory suggests that COVID toes could be a direct result of the SARs-COV-2 virus. Walking barefoot in homes, lack of physical movements and a sedentary lifestyle is said to be some of the causes.
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What Is Covid Toe
It can happen at any age, but affects children and teenagers more commonly.
For some it is painless, but the rash can be extremely sore and itchy, with tender blisters and swelling.
Sofia, who is 13 and from Clackmannanshire in Scotland, was barely able to walk or wear shoes when she developed Covid toe earlier this year.
Over the summer, she told BBC Scotland’s The Nine how she relied on a wheelchair for longer walks.
Often, they will have none of the classic Covid symptoms, such as the persistent cough, fever and loss or change in smell or taste.
Why Do Skin Symptoms Last So Long
Long-haulers or people experiencing long-term symptoms from COVID-19 are still being studied. Experts need to better understand what the disease does to the body, and why it can cause such a range of ongoing conditions.
In Freemans research, data showed that different symptoms lasted various amounts of time. Rash-like morbilliform lasted a median of seven days, and urticarial lasted a median of four days in COVID-19 patients. Papulosquamous eruptions lasted a median of 20 days, but one COVID-19 long-hauler had the symptom for 70 days.
COVID toes lasted about two weeks in patients, but six patients in the registry had symptoms lasting at least 60 days. Two had COVID toes for more than 130 days.
Usually with other viruses or diseases, like measles, skin symptoms clear once the disease goes into remission and the lesions heal, Gulliver says.
But with COVID-19, the longer-lasting symptoms are still puzzling to experts. Recovering from COVID-19 is not clear-cut, as people with long-COVID have shown, Freeman says. Someone with symptoms eight weeks after contracting the virus may no longer be in their acute phase of infection, she says, but that doesnt mean they are back to normal.
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