A growing number of those infected with Covid-19 are reporting “small dermatological lesions” on their feet. The measles-like marks are primarily seen in children and young people and are presenting before other coronavirus symptoms, which could be a tell-tale sign of the onset of the disease.
The “curious finding” has been reported in numerous cases observed in Italy, France, and Spain, according to a statement released by the General Council of Official Colleges of Podiatrists in Spain, who created a registry of patients confirmed and believed to have contracted SARS-CoV-2. Purple-colored lesions similar to those of chickenpox or chilblains, sores resulting from exposure to cold temperatures, usually appear around the toes and often heal without leaving marks on the skin.
“The Council of Podiatrists urges its Colleges and its members to be very vigilant because this may be a sign of COVID-19 detection that can help to avoid the spread,” writes the council.
“The Council wants to convey a message of reassurance to parents and possible victims, given the benign nature of the lesions, and to remember that they should monitor the appearance of the other clinical symptoms characteristic of COVID-19, such as cough, fever, respiratory distress, etc.”
The International Federation of Podiatrists echoed the findings in a case report describing a 13-year-old boy who suddenly presented with foot lesions measuring between 5 and 15 millimeters in diameter last month. Two days later, the boy developed a fever, muscle pain, headache, and intense itching and burning on his foot that lasted for more than a week before subsiding on their own. Doctors were not able to confirm that the foot lesions were in fact caused by Covid-19 “due to the emergency situation present at this time in Italy,” but say that it is likely that he contracted the virus as both his mother and sister presented symptoms of Covid-19 before the lesions appeared. Previous small studies from Italy have similarly shown that around one-in-five patients with Covid-19 present some form of skin manifestations.
Podiatrists note the findings are new and a “short amount of time” has elapsed since being reported. Even so, it is important to consider foot lesions as a potential symptom of Covid-19 before others develop. If a person has lesions and no history of stings, burns, or other trauma, doctors advise to isolate the person in quarantine and treat with a topical corticosteroid. “Avoid unfounded alarmism” but do consult medical professionals over telemedicine and send a photograph to the doctor, perhaps requesting a Covid-19 test. Only go to the hospital if there is an emergency.