You are here: Home Blog ‘Covid toes’ – how coronavirus can affect your skin

‘Covid toes’ – how coronavirus can affect your skin


Most people know the main symptoms of Covid by now: a dry cough, fever, and a loss of taste or sense of smell. But did you know that Covid-19 can also affect your skin? For some people, so-called ‘Covid toes’ may be the only sign of a coronavirus infection. Mr Pal Ramesh, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, tells us what he’s been seeing and hearing.

What are Covid toes?

Doctors around the world have noticed that some patients who test positive for Covid-19 have been developing discoloured, inflamed and swollen toes, and sometimes fingers, commonly called Covid toes. From what we know, it seems that most people develop this only on their toes, hence the term “Covid toes.”

This can be one or more toes, leading to discolouration (red or blue).

They are normally painless but some of the toes can have swelling and itching or blisters.

Who tends to develop Covid toes?

While Covid toes can appear at any age, children, teenagers, and young adults seem most likely to develop this condition. These young patients are healthy. Many never develop other, more common symptoms of Covid-19, such as a dry cough, fever, and muscle aches. When they do have symptoms of Covid-19, the symptoms tend to be mild.

Possible theories for Covid toes

As this is a new symptom there is still a lot of research taking place to understand its causes. Some theories for Covid toes include:

  • viral infections can lead to rashes in the skin
  • viral particles could be deposited in the skin, eliciting reaction
  • most possible reason is inflammation of blood vessels-called vasculitis

It seems that Covid toes appear in later stages of covid and recovery, they are therefore unlikely to be contagious as previously mentioned.

How long do Covid toes symptoms last?

More information is needed to know for sure. Right now however, reports suggest that a rash typically lasts between 2 and 12 days, with most people having a rash for 8 days. In some cases though, the symptoms can persist for months.

What can I do if I have Covid toes?

COVID-19 is a new disease, so doctors are still learning about it. Dermatologists are leading the effort to find out exactly how the coronavirus affects the skin. In the first instance use Hydrocortisone cream to relieve any itching. Also continue to monitor and observe the symptoms.

You may also find these interesting

Five ways to manage chronic pain

Chronic pain is long-term pain that lasts for at least three months. This is a debilitating condition that can have a big impact on your life. If you are bedridden one day but feel better the next, it can be hard to understand and explain to others. Many people feel angry and frustrated if pain prevents them from doing routine tasks or enjoyable activities.

An overview of the One Stop Breast Clinic

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. According to the charity Cancer Research UK, about 55,500 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. At Parkside Private Hospital, we have set up a One Stop Breast Clinic. Mr Dibyesh Banerjee (Oncoplastic Breast surgeon) explains how this clinic can reduce anxiety and waiting times if you are concerned about any breast symptoms.

Bunions: Symptoms and causes

The term ‘bunion’ refers to a bony bump at the base of your big toe. While many people will be familiar with what a bunion looks like, not many people know what the causes and symptoms of a bunion are. In our latest blog post, Mr Amit Amin, Consultant Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon, takes a closer look.