Why Is My Toe Blue?

Last updated: 05-24-2021

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Why Is My Toe Blue?

Does one or more of your toes have a bluish hue to it? This may not be all that concerning if you’re dealing with blue and purple discoloration a few days after stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on it, but it’s much more of an issue if direct trauma is not the reason behind the discoloration. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at what might be causing your toes to look blue, and what you should do about it.

My Toes Are Blue
If your toes are blue and the discoloration is not the result of acute trauma, you could be suffering from what’s known as blue toe syndrome. Blue toe syndrome can be caused by a few different issues, but oftentimes it ties back to an issue with your circulatory system. The condition tends to be caused by a form of acute digital ischemia, which is the medical version of saying that your toes are not getting enough oxygenated blood.

Blood is supposed to bring oxygen to cells all over the body, but if blood cannot reach your toes in a healthy manner, the cells and tissues in the toe can become damaged from a lack of oxygen. Some people my only have one discolored toe, while others may have discolorations on both feet. Aside from discoloration, some symptoms that tend to occur in patients with blue toe syndrome include:

Foot pain
Leg muscle pain
Foot ulcers
Foot lesions
Prolonged foot bruising
As we mentioned above, blue toe syndrome tends to be caused by a blockage in the small blood vessels in the foot. Health conditions and factors that can lead to blockages or inhibited blood flow to the toes include:

Atherosclerosis
Embolism
Diabetes
Taking certain medications
Kidney failure
Treating Blue Toes
If you notice discoloration or bluing of one or more of your toes, head to a foot ankle ankle specialist like Dr. Silverman. They’ll be able to look at the foot and conduct some tests to determine what’s causing the blood flow issue. Once they’ve figured out the root cause, they can help develop a treatment course.

Treatment will vary based on your underlying cause, but for some patients with mild discoloration, the main focus will be on increasing daily exercise and improving the patient’s diet. This will help to improve circulation and blood flow to your toes. For more serious cases, surgery may be necessary to ensure healthy blood flow to the area. This may be accomplished with:

Stenting – This procedure involves the insertion of a mesh tube called a stent into the blood vessel so that it remains open and allows for optimal blood flow.

Bypass Surgery – A healthy blood vessel from another area of the body is harvested and used to create a bypass around the blockage.

Most mild and moderate cases respond well to treatment, and you’re risking issue death if you leave your blue toes untreated, so there’s no reason not to talk to a specialist about your discolored toes. To talk to a specialist in the Twin Cities area, reach out to Dr. Silverman and the team at Silverman Ankle & Foot today at (952) 224-8500.


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