We still have a few more months of winter to contend with here in New Jersey and while for most people the cold is nothing more than a nuisance, for a small percentage of people we treat at Central Jersey Ankle & Foot Care Specialists it is something that can lead to a flare up of a rare condition known as Raynaud’s phenomenon.
People with this disorder experience their toes and fingers turning a blue-white color when exposed to the cold. This is due to spasms in small blood vessels in the toes and fingers. In most cases, when the body is warm again the skin will return to its normal color. In severe cases, however, ulcers-like wounds can form on the toes or fingers.
Who is Prone to Raynaud’s phenomenon?
Women are the ones most often affected by Raynaud’s. In fact, while only 3 to 5 percent of the general population have Raynaud’s, in women ages 15 to 40 it’s as high as 15%. Other risk factors include:
- Certain medication
Is Treatment Necessary?
In most cases the treatment is focused on preventing exposure to the cold for the patient who has Raynaud’s. It’s important to keep the whole body warm, not just fingers and toes. Wearing warm socks, hats and gloves is a must. Avoid the frozen food aisle in the supermarkets; use hand and foot warmers and an automatic car starter if possible.
There are cases where Raynaud’s phenomenon is a secondary symptom of an autoimmune disease such as lupus, scleroderma or a connective tissue disease. If you come to our Aberdeen office with symptoms of Raynaud’s, our podiatrists, Dr. Christopher J. Mullin, Dr. Jessica A. Addeo and Dr. Rajan Patel, may order blood tests to determine if you have any of the medical conditions associated with Raynaud’s.