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Fingers that change color

Definition

Fingers or toes may change color when they are exposed to cold temperatures or stress or when there is a problem with their blood supply.

Alternative Names

Blanching of the fingers; Fingers - pale; Toes that change color; Toes - pale

Common Causes

Home Care

Avoid smoking.

Avoid exposure to cold in any form. Wear mittens or gloves outdoors and when handling ice or frozen food. Avoid chilling, which may happen following any active recreational sport. Wear comfortable, roomy shoes and wool socks. When outside, always wear shoes.

Call your health care provider if

Call your doctor for an appointment if:

  • Your fingers change color and the cause is not known
  • Fingers or toes turn black or the skin breaks

What to expect at your health care provider's office

The doctor will perform a physical examination , which will include close examination of the hands, arms, and fingers.

The doctor will ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:

  • Time pattern
  • Aggravating factors
  • Other symptoms

Tests that may be done include:

Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

References

Olin JW. Other peripheral arterial diseases. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. . 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 80.

Media

    Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.