What are ‘Covid toes’ and how long do they last for after you have coronavirus?

The American Journal of Dermatology found toes may turn red or purple (Picture: PA)

As the coronavirus pandemic progresses, we’re learning more and more about how it presents itself – other than the ‘main’ three symptoms (a new continuous cough, loss of taste and smell, and a fever).

One of these has been that has come up in the last few months has been ‘Covid toe’.

New research has shown that inflammation of the toes has been seen in patients with Covid-19, with some finding it lasts for months – even after their coronavirus tests are negative.

Toes may start to swell, and show red or purple lesions that can be itchy.

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Scientists found that about one in six people with ‘Covid toes’ required hospital treatment, while some ‘long Covid’ sufferers symptoms report cases lasting for several months.

Here’s how to know what to look for.

How to spot Covid toes

Covid toes are typically red and swollen – and can become purple over time. They can also blister.

Marion Yau, podiatrist at Harley Medical Foot and Nail Clinic tells ‘I have recently seen a few cases of Covid toes. In both men and women. Usually in the younger population between 20s to 40s but anyone can have Covid toes.’

Even if you’re otherwise asymptomatic, this could be an indication that you need a Covid test.

However, it could also be chilblains, which present themselves after repeated exposure to the cold (such as when you’re barefoot around the house all day).

Marion says that you can differentiate the two by checking where and when they appear. She says: ‘The symptoms of chilblains are associated with the  exposure to cold temperature and the wet season such as the winter time.  

‘Chilblains can affect the hands,  feet , ears and face. While, Covid toe only appears in the feet and there are no seasonal correlation and can occur any time.  

‘The appearance of Covid toe is caused by an inflammatory response due to the infection.’

The toes can become swollen (Picture: PA)

How long will Covid toes last?

According to Marion, ‘Most Covid toe will require no treatment and the rashes may last for a few days to a few weeks after you have become Covid negative.

‘Take some pain killers if the toes are uncomfortable and keep area warm by wearing thicker socks and slippers. If symptoms do not improved after several weeks, contact your GP.’

If you’ve just noticed you have what you believe to be Covid toes, it’s important to get tested immediately and isolate. These can appear even in otherwise asymptomatic people with the virus.

You can request a free test here.

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