Scientists believe they have found an explanation for why some people who contract the coronavirus develop infections in their toes.
This condition is known as “corona fingers”, and it is one of the side effects of the body switching to attack mode to fight the virus.
Researchers say they have identified the parts of the immune system that appear to trigger these symptoms.
The findings, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, may help identify treatments that relieve these symptoms.
What are “corona fingers”?
This condition can occur at any age, but it is more common in children and teens.
For some, it is painless, but the rash can be very painful and itchy, with blisters and swelling to the touch.
When Sophia, 13, from Scotland, contracted the coronavirus earlier this year, she was barely able to walk or wear shoes.
Over the summer, she told BBC Scotland how she relied on a wheelchair to travel long distances.
Symptoms usually appear in the toes, but may affect the fingers. Some people also have raised, painful bumps or have rough areas on the skin. Pus may appear.
These symptoms may last for months, and some have symptoms for only weeks.
Often, people will not experience the classic symptoms of Covid, such as a persistent cough, fever, and loss of taste, during infection with Corona finger.
Sofia contracted the Corona virus and was barely able to walk or wear shoes
Why does injury occur?
The results of this recent study, based on blood and skin tests, suggest that two parts of the immune system may play a major role in this condition.
One is an antiviral protein, and the other is a type of antibody that mistakenly attacks a person’s cells and tissues, not just the virus.
The researchers, who are from the University of Paris in France, say that the cells lining the small blood vessels that feed the affected areas are also related to the appearance of these symptoms.
The study included 50 people suspected of being infected with the Corona virus in the spring of 2020, in addition to 13 other people with similar injuries to chilblains but who did not have a “Covid” infection, because their condition was long before the outbreak of the epidemic.
The researchers hope that these discoveries will help patients and doctors better understand the condition.
Evan Bristow, a podiatrist in Britain, said that for most people, swelling of the toes disappear on their own, as it usually happens with swollen toes that appear during colds and with people who have problems with circulation.
But some cases may need treatment with creams and other medications.
“Confirming the cause will help develop new treatments to manage it more effectively,” Bristow said.
Dr. Veronique Patai, a consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, explained that the “Corona finger” case appeared a lot during the early stage of the epidemic, but it is less common now, even with the emergence of the current Delta strain.
This may be due to an increase in the number of people being vaccinated or receiving some protection against Covid after previous infections.
“Its appearance after vaccination is much rarer,” Veronique said.
She added that skin problems associated with Covid can appear for a long time after infection with the virus, as well as in people who do not have other symptoms, so they are sometimes not linked to the virus.