Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

red/purple toes...please help

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 22 Replies
  • Posted By: diagnoseme!?!
  • July 21, 2007
  • 10:58 AM

I am concerned because recently, my toes have been turning red/purple whenever I walk for even a very short distance. The redish/purplish color is not limited to my toes and extends somewhat to the rest of my foot, but is most extreme on my toes. It is noticeable enough that people stare at my feet and a few people (strangers) have stopped me to comment on it. It is worsened by walking long distances and heat, but happens even if I walk for a block or two in cold weather. The symptoms have been happening for almost 2 months now.

For the last two months, I have also experienced swelling of my feet and ankles. Again, it happens regardless of what I do (even when sitting), but seems to be worsened by walking, heat, and alcohol and caffeine intake. I went to the doctor about my feet and ankle swelling, because I recently (about 3-4 months ago) began taking hormonal contraception and was concerned about some of the more serious side effects of that, such as blood clots in the leg. This was ruled out by a blood test, however (at least as of three weeks ago). When I was at the doctor, I did not mention the redness of my toes, however.

The doctor didn't perform any tests regarding my heart or circulation, because he told me I was too young to be concerned about it (I am 23). However, the only possible explanation I can find on the Internet for the purple/red color of my toes seems to be poor circulation/hardening of the arteries. I know this would be extremely rare for someone my age, but can't find any other possible explanations. Does anyone know what might be causing my red toes?

Thank you so much!

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22 Replies:

  • I think your doctor is a moron. Try to find a new one asap. You don't rule out blood clots via a blood test. You need a different test, like a contrast test or something. That could be a side effect of birth control pills--blood clots. A person is never too young for heart problems, either. Some people are born with a defect and don't realize it until later, when something happens. Also, you need to be checked for diabetes. You may need to go into the emergency room. You might want to consider a lawyer for malpractice once your crisis is over.
    Monsterlove 2,921 Replies Flag this Response
  • I see you didn't tell your doctor your feet were red/purple. Now it's your fault.
    Monsterlove 2,921 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi, this sounds very simalar to what my mother has. Her 3 toes on her left foot have gone purple, swollen, itchy, and like a burning feeling and the same with her big toe on her right foot. She put up with this for about two mths and then decided to go to emergency as the two doctos she saw couldn't diagnose her. It is obviously a circulation problem. She has been in there for just over a week now and is being transfered to a better hospital where she may have to have them removed.The doctors still don't know what it is after a week of tests. We are suspecting gangrene. Please go and do something about this IMMEDIATELY as it only gets worse, you are so young to start loosing toes, any age is really.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I just found this: http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/intermittent_claudication_other_symptoms_of_peripheral_artery_disease_000102_2.htmAdvanced Peripheral Artery Disease (Ischemic Rest Pain)In advanced cases, the arteries are so blocked that even rest does not help. Leg pain that continues when lying down is called ischemic rest pain. Ischemia is the medical term for insufficient blood flow to tissues.People with ischemic rest pain are at risk for ulcers and gangrene. In severe cases, amputation may be required. Symptoms of advanced PAD can include:Calf muscles that shrink (wither)Hair loss over the toes and feetThick toenailsShiny, tight skinPainful non-bleeding ulcers on the toe (usually black) that are slow to heal In some cases, blood clots form in the arteries in the legs, producing abrupt symptoms.
    Monsterlove 2,921 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have the EXACT same problem! People are constantly asking me whats wrong with my toes and I always have to answer "I wish I knew." It drives me crazy and I haven't been able to figure out the cause of the redness. However, I have noticed that when I'm laying down or if my feet are above heart level, they return to normal pigmentation. My best guess is some sort of circulation problem. This would be even more rare for me, considering I'm only 14 years old. I'll continue researching this "condition".
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 2, 2009
    • 04:24 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I've seen someone with the exact same issue, but on their finger. They're still living their life normally, my guess is you'll be fine and i'm actually pretty sure it has something to do with your blood circulation.. thats my guess as well i'm no expert but that's my guess. I hope this helped :)
    xoxprettythangxox 7 Replies
    • September 3, 2009
    • 02:20 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Sounds like it could be Raynaud's disease or Raynaud's phenomenon. It can be a symptom of Lupus or other systemic disorders. It causes red, purple, and white color changes, that may look like a circulatory problem, starting on the toes and fingers. I am concerned because recently, my toes have been turning red/purple whenever I walk for even a very short distance. The redish/purplish color is not limited to my toes and extends somewhat to the rest of my foot, but is most extreme on my toes. It is noticeable enough that people stare at my feet and a few people (strangers) have stopped me to comment on it. It is worsened by walking long distances and heat, but happens even if I walk for a block or two in cold weather. The symptoms have been happening for almost 2 months now.For the last two months, I have also experienced swelling of my feet and ankles. Again, it happens regardless of what I do (even when sitting), but seems to be worsened by walking, heat, and alcohol and caffeine intake. I went to the doctor about my feet and ankle swelling, because I recently (about 3-4 months ago) began taking hormonal contraception and was concerned about some of the more serious side effects of that, such as blood clots in the leg. This was ruled out by a blood test, however (at least as of three weeks ago). When I was at the doctor, I did not mention the redness of my toes, however.The doctor didn't perform any tests regarding my heart or circulation, because he told me I was too young to be concerned about it (I am 23). However, the only possible explanation I can find on the Internet for the purple/red color of my toes seems to be poor circulation/hardening of the arteries. I know this would be extremely rare for someone my age, but can't find any other possible explanations. Does anyone know what might be causing my red toes?Thank you so much!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 3, 2009
    • 11:25 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I just had another thought... could it maybe be that your diabetic? some diabetics have purple toes/fingers so that could be a possibility.Hope this helped again
    xoxprettythangxox 7 Replies
    • September 4, 2009
    • 06:45 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I have the EXACT same problem! People are constantly asking me whats wrong with my toes and I always have to answer "I wish I knew." It drives me crazy and I haven't been able to figure out the cause of the redness. However, I have noticed that when I'm laying down or if my feet are above heart level, they return to normal pigmentation. My best guess is some sort of circulation problem. This would be even more rare for me, considering I'm only 14 years old. I'll continue researching this "condition".My daughter, who is 16, has had the same problem for a year now and the doctor smiles everytime we mention it at appointments, likes it's not important. Now finally this last appointment he ordered x-rays and bloods tests for Raynauld's. She has already seen a specialist for arthritis because last year she was having shoulder pain at the same time as the problem with her toes and that doctor thought she needed insoles for her shoes, STUPID. Her toes get very red, even purplish, swollen, painful and when you push on them they turn white in that spot and it takes quite awhile for that spot to turn red again, bad circulation????
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 10, 2010
    • 06:17 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • My daughter, who is 16, has had the same problem for a year now and the doctor smiles everytime we mention it at appointments, likes it's not important. Now finally this last appointment he ordered x-rays and bloods tests for Raynauld's. She has already seen a specialist for arthritis because last year she was having shoulder pain at the same time as the problem with her toes and that doctor thought she needed insoles for her shoes, STUPID. Her toes get very red, even purplish, swollen, painful and when you push on them they turn white in that spot and it takes quite awhile for that spot to turn red again, bad circulation????My 17 year old daughter is experiencing the same thing. She also has white patches on the bottoms of her toes, like flat blisters. Does your daughter have those too? We are in the middle of trying to find out what is causing this. The Rheumotologist thinks it is a symptom of an underlying condition so she is testing a lot of things right now. Hopefully someone can figure this weird thing out.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 26, 2010
    • 02:07 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I am having what sounds like the same problem as all of you are having, my left foot's left three toes started out red and itchy but now it has progressed to be a blackish purple almost all the time and when I sit down for a long period of time it can actually make my intire foot a dark purple color and if I stroke my finger against my skin the blood takes 3-5 seconds to come back to my foot and i'm afraid its getting worse. I am only 15 and I have grown around 5 inches this year if that could maybe be a cause to this i'm not sure.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 21, 2010
    • 09:06 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
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  • First off, I would like to say that Monsterlove has no idea what he is talking about. Regardless of whether you told your doc your toes are red/purple or not just because your legs swell and you take OCPs does not mean that you have a blood clot automatically and you should sue your doctor. Reading WebMD doesn't make you a doctor Monsterlove, four years of medical school and residency training does so don't act like such a know it all... And for the record blood clots in the legs are not diagnosed with contrast, they are diagnosed with an ultrasound. Nice try acting like you know what you are talking about though.Its possible that you have Raynaud's phenomenon. Usually that doesn't mean anything but it could be a sign of an underlying problem like lupus but chances are if you really had lupus you'd have a lot more problems to complain about at your doctor's appointment than just your toes. It could be a lot of other things too. Ask your doctor about it again and tell him how concerned you are about it.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 26, 2010
    • 01:35 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • My Symptoms: For the past two years, on and off, there are certain points throughout the year (typically in the winter) that my toes get dark purple splotches on them. Sometimes they get very swollen (to the point where I can't even wear normal shoes - I can only wear my crocs), they get very uncomfortable and irritated, and blood seems to pool at certain parts of my toes. Sometimes the splotches appear on the sides of my toes, at the tips, on the tops... it really varies. It almost looks like I have large blisters all over my toes, but they're not actually blisters. Right now, my feet aren't swollen, but I do have dark purple spots on some of my toes on both feet. The spots are really sensitive to the touch, but if my feet get too hot or too cold they become uncomfortable and irritated. I have shown it to my doctor 4 times and now after 2 year he is sending me to rumatolog!!!they are morons!hope someone somewhere can find an answer for it and pass it to rest of us.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hey everyone, I have the same red toes, getting quite painful too. Do searches on erythromelalgia and thrombocytosis. I think I have something like that. I'm going to the doctor in two days. Good luck!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • wow i have the same exact problem you are describing! i did not always have this, and my mom definitely thinks it is a circulation problem. i am 14 as well! hopefully i will grow out of it...we are stumped! it isnt painful though, and i dont feel any tingling. please help if you know anything about this that may be helpful in any way!! thanks :)
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • 90% i feel its raynauld`s phenomenon ... you`re hypersensitive to cold .. try wearing thick socks wen u`re walking in cold n make sure that ur peripheries remain warm... don worry its nothing serious .. god bless :)
    arjun4mb 80 Replies Flag this Response
  • My husband seems to have a variation of this problem: purple private parts. We have no idea of what is causing the situation, and neither does our doctor. If you've even been to the zoo and seen a mandrell and its bright coloration, you have an idea of what we're dealing with. We are currently consulting a Jesuit who plans to ask permission from the Pope to perform an exorcism.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 10, 2011
    • 09:29 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I have the EXACT same problem! People are constantly asking me whats wrong with my toes and I always have to answer "I wish I knew." It drives me crazy and I haven't been able to figure out the cause of the redness. However, I have noticed that when I'm laying down or if my feet are above heart level, they return to normal pigmentation. My best guess is some sort of circulation problem. This would be even more rare for me, considering I'm only 14 years old. I'll continue researching this "condition".My daughter is 15 and she has the same problem. She says that her toes are hot and they are red. Now her some of her toes are turning purple two on the left foot and one on the right foot. They are itchy and tinkley. She has been checked for diabetes and there is no sign of it. She is on birthcontrol but only for two months. The redness was long before that. I took here to her peditrician and his response was to ask me if I had found anything on the internet that I thought it could be. Charged me for the office visit and told be to see the gynocologist about the Birth Contol. Waste of money. Next week is that appointment will post once we have a response.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 12, 2011
    • 09:19 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • no no .. pls consult a general surgeon immediately .. m sure he`l help u .. n pls let me know if he doesn`t ...
    arjun4mb 80 Replies
    • February 15, 2011
    • 11:41 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • My daughter, who is 16, has had the same problem for a year now and the doctor smiles everytime we mention it at appointments, likes it's not important. Now finally this last appointment he ordered x-rays and bloods tests for Raynauld's. She has already seen a specialist for arthritis because last year she was having shoulder pain at the same time as the problem with her toes and that doctor thought she needed insoles for her shoes, STUPID. Her toes get very red, even purplish, swollen, painful and when you push on them they turn white in that spot and it takes quite awhile for that spot to turn red again, bad circulation????I've been having a similiar problem! My toes go completely numb on both feet, but my left is the worst. Then they look completely white. Like there is no circulation in them at all. Then I try to massage my feet & toes to get the feeling back and all of a sudden all the blood rushes in pretty quickly and they get bright red, swollen and so stiff that I can't move them. I have barely been able to walk the past few days! No clue what's going on!!!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 17, 2011
    • 05:02 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
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