Some people who have been infected with COVID-19 may have noticed that an unusual condition in their toes. A study released Tuesday said that the condition may be the body’s immune response to the infection.

The condition – COVID toe – creates painful lesions on the toes, which the study, published in the peer-reviewed British Journal of Dermatology said is the body’s overly aggressive immune response to the virus.

COVID toes cases began to crop up at the start of the pandemic. The symptoms are toes that appear frostbitten with purple coloring, swollen, and red itchy plaques on the extremities.

The sores on the toes can be extremely painful, with a burning sensation or itching that can last for months, the New York Times noted.

The condition can develop in people of any age but is most prevalent in children and young adults.

In April 2020, the American Academy of Dermatology reportedly received about 100 reports of people seeing these types of lesions on their hands and feet.

According to the new study, researchers examined 50 cases of COVID toe at the Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris in spring 2020, where they found the toes to have abnormal levels of interferon 1 – a live-saving molecule that is produced during infections.

But researchers believe the molecule is overworking itself, recruiting immune cells to the toe region, which is causing damage to the area where blood vessels are the narrowest.

Researchers also discovered that the COVID toes had antibodies that were not only attacking the virus, but they were also attacking the body.

The COVID toe condition is reversible with local or systemic anti-inflammatory treatments, the study said.

Toes Representational image. Photo: Pixabay