Common Signs and Symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease

fingers that look wounded

Have you ever experienced or seen someone having white or blueish (cyanotic) fingers? Well, this may be a sign of Raynaud’s Disease. It is known that Raynaud’s Disease can prevent oxygen-rich blood from reaching parts of the body, especially, the hands and feet, as they are further away from the heart. This makes your fingers or toes look blueish in color. This is because the blood vessels go into a temporary spasm in response to cold, stress, or emotional upset.

This is quite common in people who live in colder areas and is of two different forms:

Primary Raynaud’s disease

This occurs on its own when the arteries that circulate the blood to the skin become narrow secondary to cold or stress.

Secondary Raynaud’s disease

This is a secondary disease and occurs in response to other conditions, most often autoimmune or connective tissue diseases.

Raynaud’s Disease or Raynaud’s Phenomenon commonly affects up to 20% of the adult population worldwide, but people lack awareness related to it.

Signs and Symptoms

These are the common signs and symptoms that are associated with Raynaud’s Disease, however, it varies for each person. The symptoms are also episodic and may last for a couple of minutes or up to 15 minutes.

Color Change

Fingers or toes may turn pale or white, then eventually becoming blue when exposed to cold, and then red when the hands are warmed.


Hands may become swollen and painful when warmed.


Extreme sensitivity to cold or sometimes to hot weather.

Loss of Sensation

Numbness, which is the same as when your hand or fingers, or toes go numb. In some cases, you can’t feel light touch and in severe cases, your fingers/toes can “fall asleep.”

Pins and Needles

After the phenomenon, when the blood returns, you may feel uncomfortable sensations such as excessive warmth, tingling, and throbbing.

Skin Sore

Skin sores or gangrene can occur in severe cases when Raynaud’s is left untreated for a long time.

Problematic Nails

The nails become brittle with longitudinal ridges, however, this could also be from other conditions.


Raynaud’s Disease is not life-threatening, but there are severe complications when they are not treated at early stages. Since the symptoms are episodic, you may not know whether they are related to primary or secondary Raynaud’s disease. So, if you have any of the symptoms described above (regardless of their severity), it is critical to get it diagnosed immediately with your primary care physician or an orthopedic specialist.

The loss of blood flow to the fingers or toes can cause skin sores or gangrene, both of which can be difficult to treat afterward and may require amputation in severe cases.

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.