DefinitionFingers or toes may change color when they are exposed to cold temperatures or stress, or when there is a problem with their blood supply.Alternative NamesBlanching of the fingers; Fingers – pale; Toes that change color; Toes – paleCausesBuergers diseaseChilblains – painful inflammation of small blood vesselsCryoglobulinemiaFrostbiteNecrotizing vasculitisPeripheral artery diseaseRaynauds phenomenon – sudden change in the finger color ranges from pale to red to blueSclerodermaSystemic lupus erythematosusHome CareAvoid smoking.Avoid exposure to cold in any form. Wear mittens or gloves outdoors and when handling ice or frozen food. Avoid chilling, which may happen following any active recreational sport. Wear comfortable, roomy shoes and wool socks. When outside, always wear shoes.When to Contact a Medical ProfessionalCall your doctor for an appointment if:Your fingers change color and the cause is not knownFingers or toes turn black or the skin breaksWhat to Expect at Your Office VisitThe doctor will perform a physical examination, which will include close examination of the hands, arms, and fingers.The doctor will ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:Time patternDid the fingers or toes suddenly change color?Has the color change occurred before?Aggravating factorsDoes cold or emotion cause the fingers or toes to turn white or blue?Did this occur after you had anesthesia?Do you smoke?Other symptomsWhat other symptoms do you have? For example:Finger pain?Arm or leg pain?A change in the texture of the skin?Loss of hair on the arm or hands?Tests that may be done include:advertisementAntinuclear antibody blood testBlood differentialComplete blood count (CBC)Comprehensive metabolic panelDuplex Doppler ultrasound of the arteries to the extremitiesSerum cryoglobulinsSerum protein electrophoresisUrinalysisX-ray of the hands and feetTreatment depends on the underlying cause.ReferencesOlin JW. Other peripheral arterial diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 80.Review Date:4/24/2013Reviewed By:David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.