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Covid toes and nails – is it a thing?

Covid toes and nails is becoming increasingly more aware as new information about the disease is emerging. Peripheral neuropathy is now also being discussed as a long covid symptom.

What is covid toe?

Covid toe is a term being noted when patients who have the covid 19 virus present with symptoms in the hands and feet, on toes and nails.

What does covid toe look like?

The symptoms they present with are purplish or red lesions on their toe(s) that are often painful. They could easily be confused with frostbite, chilblains or Raynaud’s disease.

Common lesions patterns include:

  • Morbilliform (measles-like) rash
  • Urticaria
  • Macular erythema
  • Vesicular (blistering, chickenpox-like) eruption
  • Papulosquamous presentation
  • Retiform (net-like) purpura
  • Chilblain-like lesions

Bristow (2020)

What is covid nail?

Unusual nail changes have been noted by a number of covid positive patients, these findings are still coming to our attention.

“a red-violet band or flare developing in her fingernails, just distal to the lunula. This lasted a week and then disappeared.”

College of Podiatry (2020)

Who gets covid toes or nails?

The other remarkable aspect is that they are commonly presented in children and young adults.

Typically symptoms appear 12 days after covid infection and occurs rapidly. For those patients with long covid, covid toe has been seen to last up to 130 days or more. 

The exact cause of these symptoms is still unknown but a vascular rather than thermal aetiology is the current view and will be researched fully in time.

Do you have covid toes or nails.

If you have had or currently have covid19 , please self isolate in accordance to Public Health England guidelines. If you have or suspect you have covid toes or nails please contact your podiatrist or us at Zest Podiatry to gain some valuable advice as to how to manage the symptoms.

There is more information on covid toes and nails at College of Podiatry.

Treatments for covid toe

Currently the same treatments are recommend for all chilblain like lesions. More information can be found at https://zestpodiatry.co.uk/chilblains-or-covid/.


College of Podiatry, 2020, COVID toes – now be on the lookout for COVID nails, College of Podiatry, viewed 21/11/2020, <https://cop.org.uk/news-and-features/covid-19/covid-nails>

Bristow, I., 2020, COVID toes, College of Podiatry, viewed 21/11/2020, <https://cop.org.uk/news-and-features/covid-19/covid-toes>

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