Doctors discover 'COVID toes,' a symptom mainly seen in kids

Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 6:30 PM CDT
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Doctors identified a new symptom of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, informally dubbed “COVID toes.”

According to

​, doctors say any purple or blue lesions on the patient's feet and/or toes is stumping infectious disease experts.

“They’re typically painful to touch and could have a hot burning sensation,” said Dr. Ebbing Lautenbach, chief of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine.

Doctors said that symptoms of 'COVID toes' appeared in patients who do not show any other symptoms.

“COVID toes” in some people can disappear in the course of a week to 10 days, but others progress to respiratory symptoms, Lautenbach said.

This appears in children and young adults compared to any other age group. Ebbing suggested this may be because children and young adults have better immune systems.

Ebbing says 'COVID toes' was discovered in March by Italian doctors. Once word spread of the unusual diagnosis, doctors in the United States began recognizing more cases.

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

Although patients with “COVID toes” are more likely to test negative for COVID-19, as the virus is in its earliest stages, he said patients should quarantine at home and monitor closely for developing symptoms