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Have sore, swollen toe with discoloured and peeling skin. How to treat this?

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Answered by

General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 5742 Questions
Several months ago my middle toe on my right foot was sore & swollen about a week. Afterward It went down & the skin turned black & I was able to peel the skin off; but it remained discolored. This past week the middle toe on my left foot became sore & swollen. It was only painful for a couple days, but still was swollen. It has now gone down somewhat but the skin has peeled & turned black. What is the problem? .
Posted Wed, 8 May 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 15 minutes later

Thank you for the query.

Having a photo of it would make it easier to provide more exact answer.

Black skin always indicates necrosis. It is caused by lack of blood flow in the area where the skin has turned black. Pain is only present on the beginning and when the nerves get necrotic as well, it stops aching.
So your problem is most likely caused by poor arteries condition in your legs. You may also suffer from pain in the calf while walking, thin, hairless skin.
I suggest you to visit your doctor and have it checked as even amputation of this finger might be necessary to prevent you from infection.
Dopplers ultrasound of the arteries should be done and vascular surgeon consult.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Have sore, swollen toe with discoloured and peeling skin. How to treat this? 14 minutes later
Dr the question was regarding the middle toe on each foot, not the fingers. I usually do not experience pain in either leg while walking. If the problem is caused by poor arteries in my legs would there be other symptoms? And for such a seemingly small (as opposed to a large problem) would amputation be indicated?
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 11 minutes later
I`m sorry, I was writing about toes, just named them fingers.
In case of poor blood flow your toes and feet should be cold, tingling and numbness can be present. Also lac of sensation when touching this toes or even feet can be present.
It may also be a beginning of diabetic foot. The main problem remains circulation but caused by high blood sugar level.
Every necrotic part of the body is a potentially toxic for the rest of healthy body and can lead to SEPSIS. I do not know how large is the black area so it is hard to talk about the amputation.

Hope this will help.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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