The 'COVID toes' that turn purple due to the deadly disease can last for around five months after the survivors fight the infection, scientists have discovered. The inflammation of the toes caused due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 can lead to purple or red skin, swelling, and blisters. The symptom normally develops within a week to four weeks of getting the disease and normally goes away within a fortnight.
In the case of some people, the skin problem has become a manifestation of the 'Long COVID' lasting for months after patients defeat the virus. Dermatologists who conducted the study fear the cases they have witnessed are 'just the tip of the iceberg' and that it is in fact a common presentation of the coronavirus.
Earlier research estimates that around one in 12 people with the coronavirus grows some kind of skin complaint and experts have continuously called for the health chiefs for recognizing it as an official symptom. The new study was conducted by scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Researchers established an international registry for the coronavirus skin manifestation in April 2020 in collaboration with the International League of Dermatological Societies and the American Academy of Dermatology.
'COVID Toes' in Patients
Doctors who entered the patients into the register in April got contacted in June and August for updating the duration of patients' COVID-19 skin symptoms. Around 1,000 cases of patients with the skin manifestations of coronavirus in 39 nations were recorded. Around half of the patients in the registry got reported to have COVID toes and about 16 percent of those had to be hospitalized from the deadly disease, figures stated. Out of those who had 'COVID toes', symptoms lasted for 10 to 15 days on average.
But six patients were 'long haulers' having toe symptoms lasting for around 60 days. Two patients saw the problem last for over 130 days. One of the scientists warned that some were still suffering due to 'COVID toes' 150 days later.
The discoveries, which are going to be presented at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) Congress in Switzerland this week, point to another burden witnessed by so-called 'long haulers'. Dr. Esther Freeman, who is the principal investigator of the International COVID-19 Dermatiligy Registry said, "It seems there is a certain sub-group of patients that, when they get Covid, they develop inflammation in their toes, which turns them red and swollen, and then they eventually turn purple. In most cases, it is self-resolved and it goes away. It is relatively mild."
"It lasts on average about 15 days. But we have seen patients lasting a month or two months. What is very surprising is when you get beyond that 60-day mark — because it's not like patients are resolving at day 70. It's the fact that some of our patients are at over 150 days now — these are patients with red or purple or swollen toes for many months," she added as reported by the Daily Mail.
The expert mentioned that the identification of people having 'COVID toes' helps researchers get to know more about the virus related symptoms in other parts of the body. The figures are given by the doctors treating patients with skin tissues in many countries meaning that there are probably many people with 'COVID toes' who did not take medical help.