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Purple color in toes, both front and back.

by Dana
(Atlantic Canada)

Purple Toes Right Foot

Purple Toes Right Foot

Purple Toes Right Foot
Purple Toes Left Foot
Toes Showing Tightness & Red Blotches

My son has been having prolems with his toes off and on for the past couple of years. The first 3 incidents his toes would turn purple, develope watery blisters, and then they would dry out and peel. We assumned it was due to him wearing slippers that had Febreeze sprayed in them and he didn't wait long enough for them to dry before wearing. The spray then got into his open pores when his feet was sweating. So we threw out the slippers, stopped using the spray, and soaked his toes in soapy warm water, and applied ointment that was given to us by the doctor. He said it was a reaction to the chemical in the spray. Fair enough. We got it under control and it went away. The following year he had it again, and once again it seemed to be from a linen spray that was sprayed in my bedroom. So back to the doctor for more cream. Another time, most recent actually, he sprayed bathroom spray after using the bathroom and it got on his feet and blisters appeared but this time his toes turned purple. This was in October and he has had 3 kindds of medication for it and the purple ness is still there but now showing up on the back of his toes. There are red splotches on the tops of some and skin is dry in the center of each toe. He says that it doesn't hurt, but that they feel tight. We are really concerned about this, because I have stopped washing his clothing in perfumed landry soap, and fabric softner sheets. We have stopped using any kind of sprays. I don't know what else to do. He is only 13 and going through puberity. He does have something that we thought was psoriosis on his head, but doctor says it is just try scalp and maybe not rinsing his hair properly. So I am not sure if this is connected. I am concerned that it might be POTS which effects the feet. We do have an appointment on Wednesday to see our family doctor again and this time we are hoping that he can see a dermitologist. Any info on what this could possibly be would be great.


RESPONSE

Hi Dana,

If your son were having a reaction to chemicals in his shoes and slipper then more than likely it would be affecting more than just his toes, so I do not think that is the problem.
This appears to be a circulation problem to me, or at least that is the thing that needs to be ruled out.
Have you noticed this problem in primarily cold weather? If that is the case then more than likely this is what we call a vasospastic disorder which means the cold weather clamps down the arteries in his toes, diminishing the circulation and thus causing color changes in the toes.
If he had the problem during the summer months then it probably would not be the cause.
In general it comes with cold damp weather, will last the season, then once the weather begins to warm up the toes return to their normal appearance, only to recur once the weather gets cold.
Ask your doctor to investigate the possibility of a vasospastic disorder. This would be considered by many to be a superficial frost bite.

Marc Mitnick DPM
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