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discoloration, itching, burning in ALL toes


(Illinois)

When it happened in Feb/March. Looks the same now.

When it happened in Feb/March. Looks the same now.

Hello everyone,


I am a 25 year old graduate student finishing my doctorate in physical therapy this May. I live in Illinois, where it is most definitely cold in the winter. Last February/March, I noticed my toes starting to become discolored, itchy, and extremely painful, say if someone stepped on my foot. I gave it about a month and continued my running and exercising, changed my shoes, only to note an increase in symptoms and tingling on the bottom distal portion of my foot. I also noticed that if I took a hot shower, the swollen areas on my toes turned blue almost every time. I've always had cold hands and feet. After a month it became so annoying I went to the doc. They sent me for a full blood workup testing for RA, which runs in my family, lupus, gout, and other things. It all came back negative. So they put me on prednisone and sent me to a rheumatologist, who felt it was something systemic but wanted to watch it before giving a definite diagnosis. Two weeks on a mild dose of prednisone seemed to effect the toes positively, and as it got warmer, I would occasionally get mild irritation but NOTHING like it had been. Fast forward...in the past few months I was diagnosed with Chiari malformation in my CNS and am having surgery next week. I was thinking maybe this was all related...but it appears not. Last week I had a sore, scratchy throat with canker sores in my mouth and throat.
This lasted about 5-7 days, it's cold outside, my hands and feet are always cold, and lo and behold, my toes are swelling again. It appears it is only from the IP to the tip of the toe, and does not extend to the base of the toes, but it's definitely BOTH feet, and started in 1 foot and is now in both. It seems to be exacerbated by wearing shoes that are even the slightest bit constricting. My toes are warm, itchy, swollen, red, and annoying. I have tried cryotherapy to vasoconstrict and it seems to help the inflammatory process. Seems to work, but I am not sure if this is the correct or healthy conservative approach. I hesitate to take prednisone before my brain surgery next week. I have attached pictures. What do you think? Is it related to viral infection, cellulitis, or something goofy?

Thank you,

Christina

Hi Christina,
Based on your description it sounds like superficial frost bite where there is vasoconstriction of the arteries going into the toes as a result of exposure to the cold weather. Read my section on circulation. You should be examined by a podiatrist or vascular specialist to confirm this. One option besides the obvious of protecting your feet from cold exposure would be to consider taking Trental in an effort to improve the circulation to your toes. Unfortonately it may be too late this year as you need to start it three months before the onset of cold weather. Good luck with your upcoming surgery.
Marc Mitnick DPM

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Aug 24, 2011
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a bit different
by: Anonymous

Same problem w/cold and then the reaction. However, this year, one of my toenails is hanging on by a thread and there isn't a new one underneath. And a 2nd toenail is dislocating in the middle. Then, today, I noticed a dot of discoloration at the end of another toe. A podiatrist thought frostbite. I thought I had Raynaud's. But do you lose your toenails, too?

Dec 19, 2010
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Chilblains
by: Anonymous

What we have is Chilblains. It's very embarrassing to be scraching or rubbing your toes in a warm room full of people. It happens when our toes and fingers get too cold in winter and the capillaries are damaged due to bad circulation. I'm still trying to find ways to improve my circulation. I work out but my toes are still cold afterward. I notice it gets worse if I wear tight fitting shoes since they restrict blood flow. I read that it's important to keep the feel warm and dry so I will buy some warmer socks and see if it helps.

Feb 04, 2010
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Try something that works for me
by: RedBurningItchyToes

I have the same problem - red, itchy, burning, swollen & painful toes - only in winter when it's really cold & I took really hot shower. I tried a lot of stuff (anti-itch, calamine lotion, Gold Bond therapeutic foot cream) & they didn't work - until I tried petroleum jelly starting 3 days ago. The redness didn't go away - but they're not itchy, burning, or swollen anymore. I never knew what petroleum jelly is for, but for the 1st time it worked for me. Worth a try.

Jan 30, 2010
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I have the same symptoms
by: Anonymous

I started having this symptoms this year all my toes itching, pain and swollen on 2 foots,I have tried all kind creams also see my doctor, still not helping. If you all trust me try to soak your foots in warm water mix with salt and make sure the water little hot and do that 2 to 3 times a day for couple weeks, but you will see a different for day one, keep doing that for 2 weeks your toes will heels very quick.

Jan 30, 2010
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Christina with some news
by: Anonymous

Hi guys,

I started this post a while ago...I have somewhat of a solution for us that live in the north and midwest as it's about 10 degrees here...

Try wearing one pair of cotton socks with a pair of at least 60% wool socks over them...I went on a dose of prednisone (20 mg three times a day tapered down over 9 days) to get rid of the swelling and have been maintaining it by consistently making sure my feet are warm at all times.

What I have is a true Raynaud's phenomenon. You all may be experiencing something similar. Never happens when it's warm. Basically, the blood vessels in our toes are vasospastic, meaning they are not allowing circulation to the toes. The warmer you keep them...and that means make sure you touch your toes to tell, because my feet are cold sometimes and I can't sense it...I promise it helps!!! Only down side for us women is we have to buy different shoes, and make sure they do not constrict your toes, or else we are asking for a repeat of the swollen sausages!!!

Talk to your doc about prednisone if they are totally swollen right now ( I don't like it, but it helped)...the other option is a calcium channel blocker to help increase circulation. I am speaking to my case and my pictures here that I posted a while ago. Be sure you talk with your doctor!!

Christina

Jan 30, 2010
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Understand
by: Anonymous

I found this post while looking for something similar to what I am experiencing.

I am a dance studio owner, very active on my feet and also work in sales. I experience the swollen, itching, red and painful toes as well, seemingly only in the winter time. I sleep with a heat pad on my feet at times, I am always cold.

Currently it is about 10 degrees here and my feet are at their worst. I had imagined that mild frostbite could be what I was experiencing.

Jan 18, 2010
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this chinese menthol oil, it's help.
by: Anonymous

I have been dealing with the itching, burning, red and swollen with this symptoms about 3 weeks already, and I also can't sleep at night because all my ten toes are itched and swollen. I have searching online for any medication to cure, but do not have any luck, I have tried many different thing to help my toes stop with this sympton, I also using the Cortizone, Tinactine cream they supposed to help with itching redness and swelling, but did not help me at all. I have discovering something and it does help me a lot,
I been have this chinese menthol oil (PO SUM MEDICATED OIL)at home and I using this oil 2 to 3 times a day to massage my toes and before I go to bed I take one allergy pill and go to sleep. I believed this help me alot, now, its been 3 days my toes stop itch and the swelling is going down, today I have not use either menthol oil or allergy pill and my toes not itch, red or swell. and I can wearing my shoes go the mall (I don't know this sympton gonna come back or not, but for now it's helping me). I hope this can help you all, good luck.

Jan 16, 2010
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I have that!
by: Erik

I have this condition also. Raynaud's or frostbite? My doctors suggested calcium channel blockers but I am skeptical. Every year I get these symptoms when it's cold or stress. I can barely wear shoes especially cotton socks. This crap sucks!!!!

Jan 07, 2010
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Christina's feet
by: Anonymous

Hi everyone...well, over the past year, I've noticed that this never happens when it is warm out. I even tried changing birth controls a few months ago, to no avail. As soon as it gets cold, it comes back. This is my 3rd year with it now. So, where did it come from? Since I have a Chiari malformation, it may be an autonomic response. However, I saw a podiatrist and had Doppler's done on my legs. What he thinks is that it is a Raynaud's only kind of reversed. Our toe blood vessels are dilated and irritated. I have a ketoprofin foot cream that does help some; however, I wish there was a better solution for this. How are everyone else's feet these days?

Christina

Jan 07, 2010
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Hello every one
by: Annie

I am glad, I found this web site.
I have a same problem, but only happen at night.
I saw Christina's foot picture posted on the web and it's just look exactly like my tip toes, when they're itching, burn and swollen. My foot only hapen happen in this couple week, my toes itchy, burn, red also swollen too, but only happen at night around 11pm to 3am and they are stop itch, during day time my toes are ok, not itch or red.
This is very whirl for me, and I don't know what's wrong either.



Dec 10, 2009
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Help!
by: Anonymous

oh my gosh...I am so glad I found your posting. I have been dealing with this exact problem for years now and have had no luck with any doctors or any medications. This is so painful, way more painful than it looks, and it gets very frustrating to keep dealing with this itching and burning. Have you had any luck with finding any answers??? Please let me know.

Jan 28, 2009
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discoloration, itching, burning in ALL toes
by: Anonymous

I have the same thing nearly every year when it
gets cold. I "make it go away" by doing this.....

- I take a hot shower at night and wash and RINSE
the soap off of my feet very well.

- I massage DMSO on the irritated toes and leave it on over night. Read up on DMSO. It has not killed me or hurt me contrary to what some will say and I have been using it for years.MAKE SURE that there is no soap on your feet or other toxic stuff. DMSO is a trans dermal and could carry the toxic stuff into your blood stream.

- In a day or so the swelling, itching, and redness
are gone. I don't know how it kills the fungus, but it does.

Happy Camper


Jan 26, 2009
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Chilblains
by: David

Hi,
I'm glad I found your post because I have been dealing with the same symptoms, but I believed it was Athletes Foot until today. Did you discover what it is you have? I was reading a little online and found "Chilblains (perniosis)", I believe this is what we have. Here is the info i was reading,

http://firstaid.webmd.com/tc/cold-temperature-exposure-topic-overview


http://www.webmd.com/hw-popup/chilblains-perniosis

&

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/692312

Also... you might want to up on something called "Raynaud's phenomenon".

I hope any of this helps you.

Jan 24, 2009
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I have the same symptoms
by: Anonymous

I started having pain and itching in my little tow on my left foot, it started a week ago. It was very very cold out for two days last weekend. I suspected frost bite, but now the swelling and redness is spreading into the tow next to it. It looks exactly like this picture taht was posted. Could it be a circulatory problem or will inflamation from frostbite spread to previously uneffected areas even if they have not been reexposed? Also shoes do seem to really agrevate the condition.

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