Diagnosis and management of COVID toes in outpatients: a case report

Marie Pouxe, Aziz Abdulkarim, Serge de Vallière, Teofila Seremet, Bernard Favrat, Ioannis Kokkinakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the most common skin lesions observed due to infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 are pseudochilblains (or coronavirus disease toes). However, this pathology remains infrequent and difficult to diagnose, as no specific test exists. Case presentation: Two Caucasian women, 30 and 22 years old, presented to our General Medicine Unit with perniosis lesions on the feet during the first two waves of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. They did not have respiratory or general symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction on nasopharyngeal swabs was negative, and the serology was positive only in the first case. The clinical presentation differed for the two cases, as the second patient suffered from swelling and burning after cold application. The diagnosis was based on clinical presentation, temporality, exclusion of other differential diagnoses, and blood test results (positive serology in the first case and high level of CXCL13 and VEGF in the second), supported by current literature. Lesions resolved spontaneously in the first patient. The second case was hospitalized for pain management and received corticosteroid therapy with resolution of the symptoms. Conclusion: These two cases with different clinical presentations illustrate the diagnostic approach to coronavirus disease 2019, a challenging disease with diverse manifestations, including, in some cases, coronavirus disease toes. We present a literature review that illustrates the progression of scientific research. Skin lesions associated with coronavirus disease 2019 infection could be the expression of an important interferon type 1 response and should be considered in the differential diagnosis in a primary care setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number307
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Chilblains
  • COVID toes
  • IFN type I
  • Pernio


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