Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Toes become red/purple whenever I walk, even for the shortest distances

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 16 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • July 21, 2007
  • 09:30 AM

I am concerned because whenever I walk, even for a few blocks, my toes become extremely reddish/purplish. It is noticeable enough that people stare at my feet and two people have stopped to comment on how red my toes are. After I stop walking, it takes quite awhile for them to return to a normal color. It seems to be worse in heat, but happens even when it is cold outside. It has been going on for the past month to two months.

I have also had swelling of my feet and ankles for the past month to two months. Both feet become quite swollen when I walk. It's worsened by prolonged walking, heat, alcohol intake, and caffeine intake, but happens even without those triggers. I went to the doctor about the feet and ankle swelling problem, because I have recently started taking Nuvaring (hormonal contraception) and was worried about the possibility of a blood clot in my leg. That possibility was ruled out (at least as of 3 weeks ago), but no diagnosis was made.

The doctor did not do any tests for my heart or circulation, because he said I was too young to be concerned about that (I am 23). However, it seems that the red/purple color of my toes is typically explained by poor circulation and hardening of the arteries. It would be extremely rare for this to happen at such a young age, but I can't find any alternative explanation for it. Does anyone have any ideas about what could cause my toes to turn so red and purple (and/or my feet to swell)?

Thank you!

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16 Replies:

  • you are too young to have any symptoms of bloackage of arteries at lower extremities, at safety side,get you blood check up asap.cholesterol and lipid level.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • You may have something called Raynaud's Syndrome. {My fingers get like your toes do.} Esp since you mention the change in temps seems to play a role in it. Some thing as simple as wearing sandles on a hot day and walking into a cool air-conditioned store, will affect this condition. This could also be criculatory issues too. A Rheummy can test you for this. There is a good website www.raynauds.org that may be able to help you, the people are very knowledgeable. Its best to get some tests run so you can know what your dealing with, and how to live with it. Good luck~~Dee
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Are you on blood-thinners or take a lot of aspirin or ibuprofen?
    rad-skw 1605 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am 56. I carry a low blood pressure, possibly somewhat because I take HCTZ to prevent kidney stones from forming, flush out fluid to keep it from forming stones. However, over the past year ALL my toes turn red, or purple. I just went to the doctor and mentioned it, who is sending me to have an arterial dopper ultrasound of my legs. I agree that you are young to have any arterial disease, however, I would still insist or see another doctor to find out why you may have poor blood circulation. I'm a little nervous about having my tests because I was a smoker for many years, quit about 3 years ago, but still chew nicotine gum, and I just learned that the nicotine can cause some of these problems. Good luck, and mainly, don't let the docs just shrug it off, and that goes with ANY abnormality, regardless of your age, sex, etc.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 13, 2007
    • 02:04 PM
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  • Re. first poster, I hope you're doing better or at least are getting some answers from somewhere. If you haven't acted on this already, I'd second (third?) the suggestion about seeing a rheumatologist. Raynaud's is indeed a significant possibility, and rheumatological/autoimmune abnormalities most commonly start among young women your age-ish, so even though your heart and general circ. are likely fine, you'll want to get checked over by somone who understands possible autoimmune issues. The usual casual checkup doesn't help much with that.I wasn't sure about whether the toes symptoms started around the same time as your new contraception? People with autoimmune disorders tend to respond poorly to hormonal contraceptives, so after you're all checked out, that may be another base trigger to consider. Depending on what your specialists say you could ask them to switch you to another formula or a non-hormonal alternative.Fwiw,KM
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 23, 2007
    • 09:31 PM
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  • Get a complete physical. Could be heart, diabetes or blood clots...yikes...
    Monsterlove 2921 Replies
    • August 24, 2007
    • 02:08 AM
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  • I've been going through the same thing since May '07. Make note that my left arm started hurting in January though everybody says its unrelated. I also have other symptoms and after living it for 8 months I've connected the dots and they have to be related. I turn 41 tomorrow. The discoloration in toes and feet are accompanied by unusual bulging veins when ever I stand for short while. After a short amount of time, a couple of hours, my feet ankles start to swell upwards into my calves, very scary. I have been on the couch with my feet up for months, that's the only time it doesn't happen. I also have leg pain. I've been to Rhuematologist, Cardiologist, Nuerologist, Gastroenterologist, Gynecologist, Vascular Surgeon and the E.R. and nobody can diagnos me. It's ridiculous and getting very scary. If you figure it out, please let me know. "I'm a mystery" according to every doctor, real reassuring.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 28, 2007
    • 09:41 PM
    • 0
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  • I still haven't gotten a diagnosis on this. I've been to several doctors and they seem really perplexed. My heart seems to be fine, no diabetes, blood tests so far are normal, etc. It doesn't seem to be Raynauld's because it's triggered by heat more so than cold, happens only to my feet, and turns them red/purple (never white or blue). I'm off the hormonal contraception now and it continues. I have a rheumatologist appointment tomorrow, which is about the only thing left to try, but my general practitioner is perplexed, because I don't have other significant symptoms that seem to really fit any of the autoimmune disorders. My ANA was negative, so lupus is unlikely. I've considered that I might have erythromelalgia, but this also seems unlikely since there isn't really any pain or burning associated with the redness. I'm also concerned about vasculitis, but none of the particular types/manifestations of vasculitis seem to fit my symptoms exactly. I will see what the rheumatologist has to say, but I'm running out of hope that I'll ever really get to the bottom of it.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 30, 2007
    • 11:25 PM
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  • I too have raynauds. Do your fingers, toes, nose and ears become numb or sensitive to cold or hot weather? Numbness with color changes and pain are also symptoms of raynauds. I'd go ask your doctor about it to get a proper diagnosis.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • August 31, 2007
    • 01:30 AM
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  • Hey!Well, I have the same problem except that its when I don't walk my toes go red/purple. Its really weird and extremely annoying. I'm quite young too. Any idea what it is when its the other way around?
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • December 3, 2008
    • 02:57 AM
    • 0
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  • you are too young to have any symptoms of bloackage of arteries at lower extremities, at safety side,get you blood check up asap. cholesterol and lipid level. my big toes on both feet having brusing under the nail and I have a sensation of numness in all of them could thid be the same problem for me?
    steveL 1 Replies
    • December 22, 2008
    • 00:57 PM
    • 0
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  • I have similar symptoms to all the ones mentioned but can't get a diagnosis either. However my toes are ALWAYS red or purple - they don't hurt or even tingle, even in extremes but are just red. I've seen a Rheumatologist and he thinks its Raynaud's although I'm not convinced as they don't turn white or hurt. Any suggestions?
    Melissa12 1 Replies
    • February 15, 2009
    • 09:45 PM
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  • I am a nursing student it sounds like it is a circulatory prob or diabetes
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 15, 2009
    • 10:26 PM
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  • It seems to me that your symptoms could be from the hormones in the Nuva-ring,which can cause fluid retention,ankle swelling,and,therefore, decreased circulation in your toes,causing the cyanosis there.
    richard wayne2b 1232 Replies
    • February 16, 2009
    • 00:09 PM
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  • Do you use high heels? I also have this problem every year for first few months when it get warm. With high heels. After few months it's getting better. Did you try more comfortable shoes?
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • February 16, 2009
    • 00:15 PM
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  • I know it's been 2 years since you wrote this post but did you ever figure out what it was? I am 38 and have been dealing with this problem for years. I've been through all the tests and specialists possible and no one can figure this out. The skin is thin on my toes too. They've just got increasing worse and I jokingly refer to them as my corpse toes. Truly though, I am terribly embarrased.
    Anonymous 42789 Replies Flag this Response
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