As this cold winter comes to an end, we have notice more patients with painful and discolored fingers and toes. This condition can be due to a common disease called Raynaud's disease. This condition is present in up to 5% of the U.S. and is more common in men than women. There are forms of Raynaud's: primary and secondary. Patients with primarydo not have an underlying disease causing the vasculitis. Secondary Raynaud's has an underlying disease such as Scleroderma that causes the vascular changes.
Raynaud's phenomenon is excessively reduced blood flow in response to cold or emotional stress, causing discoloration of the fingers, toes, and occasionally other areas. This condition may also cause nails to become brittle with longitudinal ridges. Named after French physician Maurice Raynaud (1834–1881), the phenomenon is believed to be the result of vasospasms that decrease blood supply to the respective regions. Raynaud's has also been called the "patriotic disease" due to the fact the affected area will generally have a red, white and then blue appearance.
The disease can be a primary or secondary condition. Primary condition means that no underlying disease is causing the symptoms. While secondary Raynaud's is due to another disease process such as scleroderma or lupus. This condition can be limb threatening if it is not treated correctly. At times, nerve blocks are needed to end the vascular crisis. Many times, these can be performed in an office setting with minimal pain.
Immediately following the sympathetic nerve block (notice the readness)
Post-injection (noticed the improved color compared to above)
If you have been suffering from symptoms that maybe due to Raynaud's, feel free to contact the physicians at the Foot and Ankle Center of Nebraska. If you are suffering from an emergency vascular crisis, seek immediate medical assistance or call 911.