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Nurses should look out for ‘COVID toe’ in patients

The COVID-19 symptom can look like chilblains, nurse consultant says 
Photograph of patient with Covid toe

New COVID-19 symptom can look like chilblains, nurse consultant says

Discoloured toes could be a symptom of COVID-19, a vascular nurse consultant has warned.

There has been a rise in the number of patients presenting to vascular clinics with symptoms appearing to be that of arterial disease, according to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust vascular nurse consultant Leanne Atkin.

However, she said these patients often go on to test positive for COVID-19 and are unlikely to present with other severe symptoms of the disease.

COVID-19 symptom causes swelling and redness at ends of toes

Dubbed COVID toe, the condition can have a similar appearance to chilblains, which commonly cause swelling and redness at the ends of toes and fingers, and was first identified as a symptom of COVID-19 by Spanish podiatrists in April.

New COVID-19 symptom can look like chilblains, nurse consultant says 


Picture: Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Discoloured toes could be a symptom of COVID-19, a vascular nurse consultant has warned.

There has been a rise in the number of patients presenting to vascular clinics with symptoms appearing to be that of arterial disease, according to Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust vascular nurse consultant Leanne Atkin.

However, she said these patients often go on to test positive for COVID-19 and are unlikely to present with other severe symptoms of the disease.

COVID-19 symptom causes swelling and redness at ends of toes

Dubbed ‘COVID toe’, the condition can have a similar appearance to chilblains, which commonly cause swelling and redness at the ends of toes and fingers, and was first identified as a symptom of COVID-19 by Spanish podiatrists in April.

Affected patients may also experience burning sensations or itching, with pain or tenderness, around the affected toe area. 

Call for more awareness of ‘COVID toe’ among healthcare staff

‘It’s imperative that there is an increased awareness among practitioners and clinicians of patients’ feet, and how changes in colour could be a sign of infection, even in the absence of any other symptoms,’ said Dr Atkin.

‘Yes, we are wearing basic personal protective equipment, but this is why it is imperative for practitioners to be aware of this relatively new symptom of the virus.

‘If this is actually a sign of COVID-19, we should be stepping up our protection for staff and for our other patients.’

View our COVID-19 resource centre


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