What Causes Fingers And Toes To Turn Blue? Treatment Options

Normally, oxygenated blood which circulates under the skin gives the skin a pink or reddish tint, more so, around the fingers and toes. Pale skin is indicative of blood loss, whilst a bluish discoloration is due to a lack of oxygen in the blood. Discolored extremities are definitely a cause for concern; visit your health care provider if the symptoms persevere, run the appropriate tests and investigations, ascertain the diagnosis and start timely treatment.

Causes Of Blue Fingers And Toes

Common causes and etiological factors for blue fingers and toes are:

  • Oxygenated blood: Red blood is oxygenated and it travels from the lungs to the various cells in the body via blood vessels called arteries.
    Oxygenated blood lends a pink-red tinge to the skin. Veins carry de-oxygenated blood from the cells back to the heart and lungs. This blood has no oxygen, is darker, and lends a blue tinge to the skin.
  • Cyanosis: In case you have bluish fingers and toes, it points towards a trouble with the heart, lungs or circulatory system. Cardiac disorders, clots in the arteries, diseases of the lungs, contact with cold air and high altitudes – all influence the quantity of oxygen that the blood cells carry.
  • Raynaud’s disease: This is characterized by numbness and coldness of the extremities when the temperature drops, or when under stress.
    It occurs due to poor circulation; the arteries supplying blood to the skin constrict; thus reducing the flow of oxygenated blood. Poor circulation to the fingers and toes manifests as – blueness, tingling numbness, coldness and cramping.
  • If you have frostbite, the outer layer of the skin freezes. The frostbitten fingers turn white-blue as the fluid in the outer skin layer crystallizes.
  • Exercising can also cause a blue discoloration of the fingers and toes. Normally, when you exercise, it helps enhance the flow of blood to the vital organs of the body and improves cardiovascular health as well. In case your fingers or toes turn blue when you exercise it may be an indication of a serious medical condition. Consult a doctor for a diagnosis and correct treatment.

Treatment Options For Blue Fingers And Toes

  • Raynaud’s disease and cyanosis are usually effectively managed at home, except for severe cases which may need hospitalization. Dress warmly, and give adequate protection to your hands and feet; ensure that your clothing and shoes do not cut off blood circulation.
  • If your work needs you to be sitting at one place for protracted intervals of time or typing on a keyboard, you must take regular breaks. Shake your hands and arms, helping blood to flow down to the fingers. Walk around to increase blood supply to the feet.
  • Medicines like calcium channel blockers and vasodilators are prescribed by the doctor to deal with Raynaud’s disease.
  • Diseases of the heart and lungs also need medication, and must be handled by your doctor effectually.
  • Frostbite can be prevented by covering the hands with mittens, and getting rid of the wet mittens without delay. Mildly frostbitten fingers can usually be treated at home. Soak your fingers and toes in warm water, not hot. Dry them off and cover them up again.