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Indiana Podiatry Group
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Indiana Foot Doctors Discuss Raynaud's Disorder and How It Affects the Fingers and Toes

Raynaud's disorder is common, and can have several different forms. Essentially, this condition involves a tightening of the blood vessels that run into the toes and fingers, leading to decreased circulation. Raynaud's phenomenon simply implies the symptoms that develop in this disorder, which can include white, dark red or blue toes and/or fingers, as well as discomfort with the color change. Raynaud's disease is used to describe when one has Raynaud's phenomenon reoccur regularly due to exposure to cold temperatures or stress, in which the blood vessels abnormally constrict in the toes and fingers. Raynaud's syndrome describes the phenomenon when it is continuing to reoccur, for longer periods with each incident, and is associated with other conditions instead of simply being seen on its own. The conditions include scleroderma, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, injury, smoking, certain medications and chemical exposures, as well as others.

In general, this condition is completely benign for most people. The mild loss of full toe and finger circulation is usually not enough to cause tissue injury or pain. While the toes and fingers look concerning, in actuality they are usually quite safe. However, there are instances in which the loss of circulation can be severe enough to cause pain, and possibly skin wounds. This is uncommon, but still possible.

Treatment of Raynaud's disorder is centered around decreasing the stimuli that cause the blood vessel contraction, namely protection from cold temperatures with gloves, and reduction of stress. Avoidance of caffeine and smoking also help. Some cases require medicine that help open the blood vessels, and severe cases may need surgery to alter the nerves that are controlling the constriction of the blood vessels.