What Are ‘COVID Toes’? Must-Know Facts

You are probably aware of the symptoms of COVID-19, which include coughing, fever, exhaustion, and shortness of breath. Could swollen and discolored toes possibly be related to it?

According to some healthcare personnel and scientists, the condition, known as "COVID toes," is real. You may notice the condition on your fingers, toes, or both. The majority of people only experience it on their toes, hence the name.

All you need to know about COVID toes symptoms, treatments, and more are provided below in this article.

What are the Reasons Behind Developing Covid toes?

At the moment this is unclear. Both those who tested positive for the coronavirus and those who tested negative for the virus saw these skin changes.

The state of your toes may be caused by your immune system developing "a robust antiviral" reaction to the coronavirus, which shows a direct connection between COVID toes and COVID-19.

What Symptoms are Associated with Covid toes?

Your toes or fingers' skin may swell up, turn bright red, and then gradually turn purple. The skin color may appear bloated and purple and may have spots that are brownish-purple in color.

Many people report feeling nothing, and they only become aware of the changes when they examine their fingers or toes.

Along with discolored and swollen skin, one can also develop symptoms like −

  • Pain

  • Itching

  • Blisters

  • Painful and raised bumps

  • Patches of rough skin

  • Pus development under the skin

Who can Develop Covid Toes?

Although the illness can manifest at any age, young children, adolescents, and adults may be more susceptible to developing it. Many young people with COVID toes appear healthy and do not develop the virus' more typical symptoms. Individuals who do experience COVID-19 symptoms often exhibit little symptoms.

Are Covid toes Contagious?

Since research on this issue is still in its early stages, specialists do not yet know the answer. Naturally, COVID spreads easily. Nevertheless, just because one person has COVID COVID toes do not guarantee that if they infect another person, that other person would also get COVID toes.

Ask your doctor if you should get tested for COVID if you suspect you have COVID toes or any other Coronavirus symptoms. Stay at home. If you haven't gotten the COVID vaccine or if you live with persons who haven't gotten it, this is especially crucial.

How can you Treat Covid toes?

COVID toes will naturally disappear. However, if COVID toes symptoms annoy you, you can address them.

A hydrocortisone cream can be applied to relieve pain or itching. Call a certified dermatologist or your physician if that doesn't work or if the condition of your fingers or toes worsens.

How Long can Covid Toes Last?

The majority of people's duration of this ailment is unknown to experts at this time. It may last between 10 and 14 days. According to reports, some people had COVID toes for months.

How to Understand if it is Covid toes or Other Conditions?

Chilblains, a cold-weather ailment, may resemble COVID toes. Swollen and discolored fingers or toes may develop as a result. If you stand on damp, moist ground and receive a chill, you could develop chilblains. Frostbite, which occurs when your skin freezes, is not the same thing.

Chiblains can affect the skin in the ways mentioned below −

  • Swollen

  • Become red or dark blue

  • Itching and burning

Chilblains can lead to sores and blisters.

How do Covid toes Affect the Skin?

The primary symptom that the virus might cause such as coughing, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing is more common than COVID-19-related skin abnormalities.

However, some individuals with the coronavirus experience several skin conditions, including −

  • Bumps that itches

  • Patchy rashes

  • Blisters that are similar to chicken pox

  • A lace-like pattern develops on the skin

  • Big patches along with similar smaller ones

  • Round and small spots on the skin

  • Flat spots and raised bumps merging

Can Covid toes be Caused by Virus Ailments?

COVID toes are simply one of several ways the body can react to a viral infection, similar to rashes. It manifests differently, and its root cause is still unclear. Many are reporting red lesions, usually on the soles. It could be a skin response, a tiny clot, or a small obstruction in the blood arteries in the toes.

Yet with sepsis patients in the ICU or people who were on life support, had developed Covid toes. COVID toes get this appearance because it is similar to clogs in the vessels that might cause toe discoloration. Unfortunately, the healthcare industry has not yet discovered a direct link between COVID toes and the severity or mildness of the virus in the body.

Should one be Concerned About Covid toes?

Although there is still much to learn, we would strongly advise getting a COVID test if you experience COVID toe symptoms, even if you don't have any other overt signs of the condition.

It's not necessary to have COVID toes to be in the active stage of the sickness or to have any other symptoms. You could be asymptomatic but still, have an ongoing case of COVID-19. It's also possible that you unknowingly went through an asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic acute phase, which is why your COVID toes didn't fully emerge until a few weeks later.

There is some evidence to support the idea that COVID toes are more typical of a milder total COVID-19 case. COVID toes may be an illustration of how frequently skin rashes occur while the immune system is ferociously battling an infectious condition.

Again, it is crucial to emphasize that there is still a great deal we don't understand. You should always take this issue extremely seriously, get tested, and take precautions to protect yourself and others as appropriate. There is substantial evidence linking COVID toes symptoms to COVID-19 infections.


Call your physician or a dermatologist right away because these symptoms can be brought on by conditions other than COVID-19. They can determine what's wrong with you and assist in getting you the appropriate care.

Updated on: 07-Mar-2023


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