Discussions By Condition: Foot conditions

red, swollen toes

Posted In: Foot conditions 31 Replies
  • Posted By: anniemaine
  • September 28, 2008
  • 01:38 PM

This is a problem I have had for years and is getting progressively worse. Doctors including podiatrist and vascular surgeon are stumped. I have been given guesses of Raynaud, blue toe syndrome, infection (antibiotics sometimes help, sometimes not), and other things, but nothing seems to quite match my symptoms.

It usually astarts when the weather starts getting colder and started a few weeks ago.

First, if I sit with my legs curled under me or hanging, I will develop extremely dusky, dark cyanotic looking toes, which clears when circulation improves.

It seems to be set off by my feet getting too hot. It will start with a painful or sometimes itchy small bump - mosquit bite size- on a toe. This will progress with the toe becoming more and more swollen, red, and painful. This would usually last a week or two. This has been going on and off for several years. However, last winter it lasted longer with more swelling. I ended up with a couple of disformed toenails (which are now growing out) and when the redness disappeared, I was left with a discoloration of where the bump had beenthat took several months to disappear.

This year, the big toe had the red bump but instead of swelling, the small area (less than 1/4-inch) has become whitish surrounded by a thin rim of dark red.

The second toe, only past the distal joint, is red, swollen and painful only when I walk or press on it. Where the bump started near the tip of the nail is now a whitish color with a rim of dark red, which does not blanch, while the redness of the rest of the toe will blanch with pressure. It is very painful.

I have been to so many doctors with so many guesses. I just don't know what to do any more, but with the progression, I feel I will end up losing toes if I can't figure out what is wrong.

If someone can tell me who to see about this or what it might be, it would be greatly appreciated.
Annie_maine@hotmail.com

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31 Replies:

  • I, too, have been almost the exact same symptoms you have been having. It all started 3 days ago and I ended up going in the ER because my foot was so swollen, red (turn white when you apply pressure), & purplish-blue, I was a bit concerned. They were quite sure it was an embolism but when the ultrasound of my arteries came back clear, they were stumped. My feet are ice cold and have no feeling in them, unless I walk, then they are painful. The vascular surgeon had no idea and sent me on my merry way. The next step my primary dr is sending me to is a dermatologist? Which I am confused on. But I am assuming it is because of these red spots but it does not explain anything else.I hope since you have posted this back in Sept. that you have found some sort of relief.. I hope that I will find out what is going on with my own, some way or another..They did rule out frost-bite, my shoes rubbing on my shoes, and the embolism. So I know what it's NOT.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 21, 2009
    • 09:33 PM
    • 0
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  • i think this is chillblains. my husband has had the same symptoms for 3 years now when winter starts.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2009
    • 08:32 PM
    • 0
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  • This sounds identical to what I have. I have a doctors appt on Monday to further investigate. Incidentally, I also have Raynauds Disease so I am wondering if it is related. I have had this before but never this bad. I showed my toes to my best friend today (who is a nurse) and she says it looks like something one of her co-workers has...gouty artheritis. I looked up gouty artheritis and it appears to normally just affect the big toe. For me, all toes are affected but it seems my middle toes are definately the worst....swollen, red and quite painful when touched.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 16, 2009
    • 11:18 PM
    • 0
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  • Well, we certainly can confirm repetition of the symptoms! I wish we had pics of each of our toes to help sort out. My husband had it 2 weeks ago and yesterday, I had red swollen toes, #2 & 3- down to the nailbed. It does not affect our joints, however- so rules out gout, in spite of our Florida diet of seafood. We have gotten these symptoms before when we are in Florida. Is it contaminants in the food? Variety of Athletes foot? (Gout is a systemic problem and although often the big toe, can hit other joints. )Any other answers out there?This sounds identical to what I have. I have a doctors appt on Monday to further investigate. Incidentally, I also have Raynauds Disease so I am wondering if it is related. I have had this before but never this bad. I showed my toes to my best friend today (who is a nurse) and she says it looks like something one of her co-workers has...gouty artheritis. I looked up gouty artheritis and it appears to normally just affect the big toe. For me, all toes are affected but it seems my middle toes are definately the worst....swollen, red and quite painful when touched.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 16, 2010
    • 00:35 AM
    • 0
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  • I too have been affected with this bizarre 2nd toe thing. It began on my left foot, 2nd toe last week. I thought I had an ingrown nail, so I treated that but then the bulbous tip section of my 2nd toe began getting red and swollen. still thinking it was because of the nail thing, I ignored it. It never traveled to other toes on that foot. Now, as of two days ago, the 2nd toe on my OTHER foot is now getting red and very swollen ( I remarked to my husband last night that it looks like a small red tootsie pop! LOL) I am stumped, as my right knee cap has been bothering me for a while and I assumed it might be joint related ( ie: gout), but this toe thing is def. not in the joint?!? should I be worried or concerned?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 13, 2010
    • 04:52 PM
    • 0
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  • I too jut started having this problem and found this picture. Seems the same. It's called Chillblains. 2.bp.blogspot.com/.../s400/chillblains.JPGhttp://www.free-makeup-tips.com/skin-disorders/chilblains.htm
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 17, 2010
    • 06:12 PM
    • 0
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  • A few days ago I started having a problem with my middle toe on my left foot.It is swollen and hot to the touch. I looked online and found the posts above. Thanks to everyone for writing. It makes you realize you are not alone. This is so strange. I am a runner, and live in warm weather. I thought I must have broke my toe, or it could be arthritis. I'll research Chillbain and see what I can find out. It's definitely a strange circumstance.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 26, 2010
    • 02:44 AM
    • 0
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  • A few days ago I started having a problem with my middle toe on my left foot.It is swollen and hot to the touch. I looked online and found the posts above. Thanks to everyone for writing. It makes you realize you are not alone. This is so strange. I am a runner, and live in warm weather. I thought I must have broke my toe, or it could be arthritis. I'll research Chillbain and see what I can find out. It's definitely a strange circumstance.Well the same for myself which started with the right third toe and the big toe , but, crucially not in the joints, then I had the same happen on my left foot. My physician suggested uric acid build-up, again, I knew my diet pretty well and felt that wasn't the suspect. So indeed a thanks for the posts, the link to the explanation is a good starter.http://forums.wrongdiagnosis.com/images/icons/icon6.gif
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I, too, have been almost the exact same symptoms you have been having. It all started 3 days ago and I ended up going in the ER because my foot was so swollen, red (turn white when you apply pressure), & purplish-blue, I was a bit concerned. They were quite sure it was an embolism but when the ultrasound of my arteries came back clear, they were stumped. My feet are ice cold and have no feeling in them, unless I walk, then they are painful. The vascular surgeon had no idea and sent me on my merry way. The next step my primary dr is sending me to is a dermatologist? Which I am confused on. But I am assuming it is because of these red spots but it does not explain anything else.I hope since you have posted this back in Sept. that you have found some sort of relief.. I hope that I will find out what is going on with my own, some way or another..They did rule out frost-bite, my shoes rubbing on my shoes, and the embolism. So I know what it's NOT.I too have had the same problem and after reading everyones posts on the internet, i did some research on my own.....it turns out I am allergic to the black dye used in my shoes....so if you are wearing black shoes, tennis shoes etc....you could be allergic to them. I am using Aveeno coallidel oatmeal to soak them in and then using a cortisone topical treatment to help with the itching and burning. Hope this helps
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • i have a red swollen toe (big toe) on my right and one is developing on my left as well!! i have no idea what it is and i pretty sure its not chilblains because its not itchy and just on side of the toe is swollen and red. it hurts when i apply pressure and it has no fluids in in it, its just a massive lump right next to my toe nail. Its hard and it hurts when i touch it! i dont know what it is and i really would like a treatment because it hurts so much when i walk. does anyone know what this is?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Well i have the same as the person above. I still have it but I can notice improvments because I socked it in some warm water with salt in it and that helped it but not as much as putting some dry cotton underneath the toenail and it has gone down heaps(i've only done it once and it worked heaps!)! I didnt think I had an ingrown toenail but i did and it wasn't on the corners but down the side of the toenail. So I put some dry cotton underneath the toenail, i rolled up the cotton, it might hurt or be uncomfortable but it sure is better then having a sore toe!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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  • i have all the same symptomes and was originally diagnosed with reynauds phenomenon. iv had it for years and i only get it in the winter recently i went to a rumatologist to see it is related to my grandmothers CREST and my greatgrandmothers scleroderma because it is a symptom of their disease and he told me it sounds more like chilbain. if its anyhelp for you guys look into them both because it sounds very much like both of them.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • This sounds identical to what I have. I have a doctors appt on Monday to further investigate. Incidentally, I also have Raynauds Disease so I am wondering if it is related. I have had this before but never this bad. I showed my toes to my best friend today (who is a nurse) and she says it looks like something one of her co-workers has...gouty artheritis. I looked up gouty artheritis and it appears to normally just affect the big toe. For me, all toes are affected but it seems my middle toes are definately the worst....swollen, red and quite painful when touched.HI, my daughter has the same thing you all describe...she is only 17. the doc says he hasn't a clue...I looked up chilblains...looks like what she has, along with Raynaud's. anyone tried any natural remedies like onion juice or potato salt? I read about them on line.any other suggestions?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • i also had the same thing its called frost bite try keeping you feet really warm all the time and soaking them in hot water then rub tea tree ointment on them it will pass after winter your jus gettin your toes too cold :)
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am also familiar with this - get yourself some meds that will help with your bloodflow - you will be amazed by the quick relief!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • So I thought I had a pimple on my big toe. I tried to pop it and some puss came out. THen I woke up in the middle of the night with my toe throbbing and swelling. What do I do?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 1, 2010
    • 09:43 AM
    • 0
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  • I also get this on my second toe on my left foot every year, when the weather starts to get cold. I went to the foot doctor... he felt my feet, which were cold besides the one toe, and told me it was Reynauds Phenomenon, which is restricted veins in your feet so your toes don't get proper blood flow especially in the cold. He recommended taking L-arginine, a supplement that supports blood flow. Within a day of taking it, my toe felt much better. If your on any medications, you might want to talk to your doctor before taking it. You can find it near the pharmacy where you find one-a-day supplements.
    gr8tful 175 Replies
    • November 8, 2010
    • 05:03 AM
    • 0
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  • The thing that baffled me was the descriptions of Chilibains that I have read, that describe it as a "bump" or "blister". Mine is more like a swelling of the tissue on the distal (farthest away) segment of my toes, just up to the nail bed and even including the nail bed. It is raised,but not like a pimple, red, shiny, sometimes itchy (intensly) and painful when pressure is applied. It also has a consistant "burning" feeling. I'm sure this is what I have, as I have lived in a tropical climate for 30 years without experiencing this. This is my first winter back north and my first prolonged exposure to cold. I was out in it, improperly dressed and knew that my toes were froze, but after they warmed up when I got back home, I thought all was well. The onset was insidious, and it was a few weeks before the pain and itching registered. I initially thought it was athletes foot due to sweating in my new fir lined boots. I even treated it as though it were. But after 2 weeks without improvement, I began to look further. Initially, I discarded Chilibains as a possibility, as many of the descriptions, as I said above, described "blisters". Maybe mine will progress to that state, but thank goodness it hasn't at this point. I wonder if I'll be able to manage the winters if this happens every year. I may just have to consider being a snowbird.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 1, 2011
    • 06:37 AM
    • 0
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  • I am having the exact same symptoms. I have been informed that it may be early symptoms of frostbite, especially since winter is coming in. Although your feet may be sweaty and irritable, try wearing some thick slipper socks. They will keep your feet warm, and wearing them seems to take my symptoms away very quickly. Go to sleep with slipper socks on, hopefully you should wake up with pretty alright feet. Try to change the socks regularly though, they tend to get very stinky. :P
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 5, 2011
    • 08:31 PM
    • 0
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  • too it started about a week or two ago. On my right 2nd toe, I too thought it may be an ingrown nail or athletes foot. Then it was on the bottom on the ball of the left foot same toe and I have same red bump on both my pink toes almost like a shoe rubbing but I know it’s not my shoes rubbing. the first week I noticed it and looked for athletes foot cures. so I did the whole vinegar/bleach water soak and Vicks vapor rub. Also use athletes foot/ring worm typical ointments. it stated to go away so I thought and reappeared a few days to a week later. I am still stumped been trying to do my own diagnose because every time I go to the doctors for anything they never know what I have and just waste mine and their time and nothing ever gets solved.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 6, 2011
    • 04:02 PM
    • 0
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