What are Covid toes?
Covid toes are a frost-bite like rash on a person’s feet or toes.
According to anecdotal evidence from dermatologists around the world it is thought that this could be a less common symptom of COVID-19.
What does the research show?
In one report, dermatologists evaluated 88 COVID-19 patients in an Italian hospital and found one in five had some sort of skin symptom, mostly red rashes over the trunk. In another, Spanish doctors reported a series of 375 confirmed virus patients with a range of skin complaints, from hives to chickenpox-like lesions to the toe swellings.
So far, research shows that most people with so-called “Covid toes” are asymptomatic or have mild cases of the disease. Interestingly this strange rash tends to affect the younger population, including children and adults in their 20s or 30s.
Whilst the rash has been present in confirmed cases of CVOID-19 further research is needed to determine whether this peculiar rash is truly caused by COVID-19.
What do Covid toes look like?
Covid toes are a pinkish-reddish rash seen on the toes and feet. Sometimes there is associated swelling and the lesions can often be itchy. The rash can turn purple over time, and may also cause a burning sensation.
Appearance is very similar to that of chilblains, a common occurrence in winter, and due to skin exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
What causes the peculiar rash seen with Covid toes?
It is thought that the rash may be caused by either inflammation or small blood clots in the vessels. The rash could also be due to the body’s reaction of other viruses and not necessarily COVID-19
What is the treatment for Covid toes?
Most viral rashes including Covid toes resolve spontaneously within a few weeks once the body overcomes the virus. However in some cases lesions can break down and lead to ulcerations which would then require treatment to help prevent infection.
Should I be worried if I have rash on my feet?
There is no need for alarm if you notice a peculiar rash on your feet or toes. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID-19. Rashes and skin lesions can have multiple other causes and are quite common in other respiratory viruses as well.
However if you have the rash and develop other respiratory symptoms such as a cough, fever or shortness of breath then the suspicion of COVID-19 would be high. In this case you should immediately get tested for COVID-19 as a precaution.
Even if you think you may have COVID-19 do not panic. It has been noted that most COVID-19 patients that present with Covid toes have only mild cases of the virus and do not become severely ill.
What should I do if I think I have Covid toes?
If you or your child develops any unusual rash on your toes or feet then you should make an appointment with one our Melbourne podiatrists for opinion. They will advise you if they think it could be Covid toes and if you should get tested.
Telehealth consults are recommended over in clinic consults for this type of enquiry, especially if you have other respiratory symptoms.