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toes changing color

by Lisa
(Alaska)

Thank you so much for trying to help. For the past 10 years my husband has experienced his toes becoming very red and looking as though they have been burned by a chemical. This is often, but not always, preceded by the toes turning pale white. Both feet are affected. We thought it had to do with when his feet sweat or when they get cold. We thought maybe it was his caffeine intake (more caffeine, more red burning toes). It seems that if he changes his socks a lot, he doesn't get burning toes. It seems that if he can keep from getting his feet cold, they do not burn. It seems that if he refrains from caffeine from any sources, his feet do not burn. But we aren't really sure. He wants to be bare footed A LOT. In the past year he has developed one thick, yellow toenail. Today one of his toes turned purple after sitting in a helicopter for a flight. I noticed the other day, we were in a class, sitting on our heels. When we stood up, one of his feet was brilliant red. It stayed that way for awhile. He has been to dermatologists who have prescribed anti-fungal creams and foot powders to reduce sweating. Those might have worked but not definitively. He has abstained from coffee and chocolate and it seemed like that made a difference. The problem is intermittent, though it seems as though it occurs more when it is cold outside, than when it is warm. And it's intermittent nature makes it hard for us to figure out. Often this happens when he has gone to bed. He has to get up and either wash his feet with soap and water, rub them with alcohol. Either of these things makes him more comfortable and he can get back to sleep. GPs, Dermatologists are at a loss for what may be causing this. They say it does not fit Reynaud's.


We are not sure what kind of doctor to go to. A Podiatrist? A Vascular MD?

Thank you so much for your help.

Hi Lisa,
This by all means is a vascular problem and your husband should have a thorough vascular workup. This is done by a vascular MD. Anything less than that would be a waste of your husband's time.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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