Raynaud’s phenomenon, also known as Raynaud’s disease or syndrome, is a common vascular condition which affects the fingers and toes. As a result of certain stresses such as cold weather, the small vessels in the extremities begin to spasm and constrict. This leads to reduced blood flow and consequently symptoms of pain and white-blue discoloration of the fingers and toes. Although it is most commonly caused by cold weather or emotional stress, Raynaud’s phenomenon may also be linked to certain systemic disease such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be a side effect of various medications. Symptoms are often brief and resolve when the trigger or stress is removed, but patients who suffer from this disease may experience severe discomfort.
Diagnosis of Raynaud’s disease is usually made clinically from a brief history and physical exam. Treatment involves removing the stresses that may cause the vessels to spasm. For example, patients may be advised to avoid the cold or to wear gloves when going outside in the fall or winter. If patients continue to experience symptoms after trying to avoid stresses which cause Raynaud’s phenomenon, they may need to consult their primary care specialist or vascular surgeon for medications such as calcium channel blockers which cause the vessels to dilate and prevent restriction of blood flow to the fingers and toes.
If you or a loved one believe you may be experiencing symptoms of Raynaud’s disease, please schedule an appointment with one of the doctors of Advanced Podiatry. We work with our patients to develop a treatment strategy aimed at preventing the triggers of Raynaud’s. Afterall, everyone should be able to enjoy the winter time comfortably!