Raynaud’s Syndrome and Chilblains, also know as Red, White, and Blue Toe Syndrome, is a condition that causes a person’s toes and fingers (and in some cases the nose and ears) to feel cold or numb when exposed to certain conditions. While there are many different factors that may trigger Raynaud’s Syndrome, cold weather seems to be the most common cause.
When the body is exposed to cold temperatures, the blood vessels in the skin restrict (become smaller) as a defense mechanism to keep the most vital parts body warm. In those suffering with Raynaud’s Syndrome, the blood vessels restrict blood flow to the skin more than necessary.
Why is Raynaud’s Syndrome referred to as Red, White, and Blue Syndrome?
- White: When your fingers or toes are exposed to the cold, they will initially turn white. This occurs from the vasospasms of the capillaries shutting down blood supply.
- Blue: Once the blood vessels are shut down restricting blood supply to the fingers or toes, they will appear cyanotic, or blue in color due to poor circulation.
- Red: Once the fingers or toes become warm again, hyperemia occurs, which cause an excess of blood flow to a specific body part
Raynaud’s Syndrome Symptoms
Those suffering from Raynaud’s Syndrome may experience tingling, numbness, burning, coldness, and/or a bluish discoloration in the toes, fingers, or tip of the nose.
If you have red patches, itching,blisters, or swelling of fingers and toes; you may have Chilblains!
Once Chilblains lesions and symptoms appear it may take 1-3 weeks to resolve; faster in warmer weather. This may come and go every winter. It’s imperative that you wear warm dry clothing and protect yourself from cold. Injuries are not usually permanent, but if not treated you risk infection to the damaged area, so see your Podiatrist. She can also recommend some additional prescription only treatment to prevent painful symptoms to begin with!
You are more likely to have a Chilblains attack if you have already been told you have Raynaud’s disease. Raynauds looks very different symptom wise, but cause and treatments are related.
Complications: extremely painful when it gets to this point!
Infected wounds, ulcers and painful sore may develop as a complication to Raynauds and Pernio. Ulcers or Chilblains may cause complications if your skin blisters. This may become life threatening in Diabetic patients. Call your Podiatrist before it gets to this point.
+ Procardia, a blood pressure medication can be mixed in a cream base by prescription and can be applied before going outside.
+ Corticosteriods applied topically also relieve symtoms.
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