Raynaud’s disease is a condition in which the toes go into vasospasm when exposed to cold or stress, narrowing your vessels and temporarily limiting blood supply. Over time, these small arteries may thicken slightly, further limiting blood flow.
There are a number of physical effects caused by the narrowing of the blood vessels, such as discoloration of the skin and a feeling of numbness, throbbing, burning and cold.
Women are more likely than men are to have the disorder. It’s more common in people who live in colder climates.
Signs and Symptoms:
At first during an attack of Raynaud’s, affected areas of your skin usually turn white. Then, the areas often turn blue and feel cold and numb, and your sensory perception is dull. The affected skin may look slightly swollen. As circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red and swell. The order of the changes of color isn’t the same for all people, and not everyone experiences all three colors.
Occasionally, an attack affects just one or two toes. Attacks don’t necessarily always affect the same digits. An attack may last less than a minute to several hours. Over time, attacks may grow more severe.
People who have Raynaud’s accompanied by another disease may also have symptoms related to their underlying condition.
Prevention & Treatment:
Treatment of Raynaud’s disease depends on its severity and the presence or absence of associated conditions. For most people, Raynaud’s disease is more a nuisance than a disability. It is certainly helpful to keep your feet warm in cold weather or environments. Some people may have good luck with wearing 2 pairs of socks or synthetic wool socks to help maintain warmth to the feet. We have also had good luck with prescribing topical medications to help increase vasodilation to the small vessels of the feet. There are also oral prescription medications available that may help. Talk to your podiatrist about these treatment options.