Physicians at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, OH are beginning to lose count of young patients coming in with COVID toes.
The hospital has already seen 20 cases of suspected COVID toes in teens and young adults. The toes have the appearance of frostbite. They’re swollen and reddish and gradually become purple. They can be painful, inflamed, and itch. Patients with the chilblains are typically healthy otherwise, and usually test negative for COVID-19. However, biopsies of the affected skin blood vessels have detected the virus. COVID toes usually resolves itself on its own between one and three months. There’s no official word if they’re contagious.
COVID toes are featured in half of the skin-related findings in the American Academy of Dermatology’s international registry of virus symptoms. Researchers have yet to understand how the virus provokes swollen toes, but like many COVID-19 symptoms, it’s assumed to be inflammatory.