Acrocyanosis is an uncommon disorder that affects the arteries supplying blood to the skin of the hands and feet. It is a painless condition that causes a change in the skin color to a dark blue to purple hue due to inadequate blood supply which results in a reduction of oxygen supply to the skin. The condition occurs more frequently in women than in men and is generally benign. However, it can be an indication of a serious underlying medical condition like cardiovascular or connective tissue disease.

What are the Symptoms of Acrocyanosis?

The most common symptoms of acrocyanosis include cold feet or hands, skin discoloration, excessive sweating, and swelling of the feet. Unlike other vascular conditions, acrocyanosis is usually asymptomatic, meaning it causes no pain or discomfort, but it is often misdiagnosed or treated as a simple case of arthritis, gout, or Raynaud’s disease due to its similar characteristics.

What Causes Acrocyanosis?

Acrocyanosis occurs as a result of vasospasms, which are temporary spasmodic contractions of the small arteries that supply blood to the skin of the extremities. These spasms block the proper blood flow, which leads to inadequate oxygen supply and skin discoloration. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but it may be associated with certain autoimmune disorders or connective tissue diseases.

How is Acrocyanosis Treated?

Although there is no cure for acrocyanosis, treatment focuses on managing the symptoms of the condition. The primary goal of treatment is to keep the feet warm, and blood circulating normally in the feet or hands. This can be achieved using a combination of therapies such as wearing insulated boots, thin polypropylene liner socks that absorb moisture, and insulated socks to maintain normal skin temperature. Additionally, patients may benefit from vascular monitoring to ensure that blood flow is stable, and any underlying medical conditions are managed.

When to See a Doctor

It is essential to see a healthcare professional if you experience persistent cold feet or hands, skin discoloration or excessive sweating. If you are experiencing these symptoms along with other symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue or shortness of breath, you should seek medical attention immediately. Dr Gilbert Huang DPM is an expert in foot health and can assess and diagnose your symptoms adequately. He can also help provide the best treatment plan to manage your symptoms and prevent any complications.


Acrocyanosis is a generally benign condition that can cause skin discoloration in the extremities due to inadequate blood and oxygen supply. It affects women more than men, and the primary cause is unknown, but there are several treatment options available that help manage the symptoms. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact Dr Gilbert Huang DPM to help you diagnose and manage the condition promptly.

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