New coronavirus symptom found mostly in young people: painful 'covid toes'

Coronavirus is like a big stinky onion with yet another layer just revealed: COVID toes. A symptom doctors are finding mostly in young people that causes their toes to swell, turn blue and purple, itch, burn, and become "painful to touch."

According to Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, “This is a manifestation that occurs early on in the disease, meaning, you have this first then you progress. . .Sometimes this might be your first clue that they have COVID when they don’t have any other symptoms.”

From USA Today:

“COVID toes” in some people can disappear in the course of a week or 10 days, while others progress to respiratory symptoms, he [Dr. Lautenbach] said.

Experts say there are two running hypotheses on what could cause “COVID toes." One possible explanation, Ebbing said, could be that there is an inflammatory response more localized to a patient’s foot and toes. Or it could be a clotting of blood vessels.

“The short answer is nobody knows,” he said.

Dr. Susan Wilcox, chief of critical care for the emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital, said another condition could also explain “COVID toes.”

She saw the purple lesions on her most critically ill COVID patients and believed it was purpura fulminans. This occurs when inflammation from a severe infection causes the body to make micro clots in tiny blood vessels located in the toes, fingers and even nose, she explains.

Ebbing warns that if you come down with this symptom, self-quarantine, no matter what your test results are -- COVID toes usually appear in the early stages of COVID-19, when patients are most likely to test false negative.