Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that affects circulation, causing decreased blood flow to the extremities (most commonly the fingers and toes). This can be triggered by several things, including cold weather and stress. Though Raynaud’s does not cause permanent damage, the symptoms can be quite painful and uncomfortable. Often the person’s fingers or toes will change colors due to the lack of blood flow, causing them to go white, red, blue or purple.
Approximately 10 percent of the population experiences Raynaud’s to some extent, though there are two different types: primary Raynaud’s occurs in people who don’t have another rheumatic disease, and secondary Raynaud’s occurs in people who do. For those with secondary Raynaud’s, the most common “primary” conditions include lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome.
We wanted to understand how this condition affects those who live with it, so we asked our Mighty community to share a photo that shows what it looks like to have Raynaud’s. If you experience this condition as well, let us know how it affects you in the comments below.
Here’s what our community shared with us:
1. “Raynaud’s and scleroderma. Me every morning during winter.” – Adele P.G.
2. “Pain.” – Adrienne S.
3. “If I don’t cover up in cold weather or I don’t eat when it’s time I get white fingers. They hurt sometimes and I have to put them on my belly or under my armpits to bring them back to normal.” – Aquitania F.
4. “I usually get a cold, followed by a numb feeling when this happens. After this, it turns purple and burns and tingles.” – Karen T.
5. “I haven’t done anything – my hands burn so bad. These hands make me feel so useless. I’m scared to do the dishes because they hurt so bad. People think I only do half the dishes because I’m lazy. Half way my hands hurt so bad I can’t touch my phone.” – Sonny P.
6. “Even my knees turn purple, usually before my fingers and toes too.” – Laura P.
7. “This is a picture of my fingers after I let my dog out in 2012. I was diagnosed with SLE in January of 2017… this was my first symptom.” – Ryn J.
8. “I’m constantly burying my feet and hands! Luckily my service dog generates a lot of heat so I can ask her to lay on my feet or bury my hands under her chin to warm up when we are out and about and I always bring a jacket even when it’s warm out… at home I am constantly burying my feet under my animals or getting extra blankets to keep warm.” – Bay H.
9. “A day at work. My hands and feet frequently look like this simply because of it being winter and cold here in Pennsylvania. I always catch my students staring, so I always give them a brief reasoning saying my circulation is really bad. Raynaud’s was my first noticeable symptom of my lupus diagnosed years later.” – Janelle G.
10. “White ‘hooman’ paws just before the shower water got hot. Hands too.” – JC L.
11. “Was feeling stressed about exams and boom, blue fingers.” – Alyssa M.
12. “This is what’s happening to me. I lose circulation in my extremities triggered by the cold/damp weather, stress or touching cold things. It is painful and I my hands/feet/nose are always cold. It sucks to live with but we need to keep ourselves warm. I wear gloves and warm socks to prevent but still happening. Heating blanket is my best friend. I am looking into buying heating gloves and socks because the regular ones are not enough.” – Louise H.
13. “‘Oh my god, what happened to your knees?!’ ‘Huh? I don’t… what…? They’re fine, that’s just how they look.’ – an interaction I’ve had 856 times at least.” – Kaari P.
14. “My Raynaud’s is awful. I also have POTS [postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome] and IST [inappropriate sinus tachycardia]. The treatments kind of contradict each other and it’s making this winter particularly difficult. I finally found medication that controls my tachycardia well and I don’t want to undo that. I can’t afford to risk ulcers though. It’s not a fun game.” – Brittney B.
15. “My hands after coming from a surf on a beautiful sunny day. I didn’t even feel cold and yet this was the state of my hands. I’ve had Raynaud’s since I was 10 but thought it was normal, just what happened to anyone when they got really cold… 13 years later I realized it was a potential sign of chronic illness all along.” – Kristiana P.