MRI results say severe Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Symptoms more similar to EM. Are they related?

I have had mild pain and swelling in one foot for 7 months. Other symptoms include redness, burning, itching, that comes and goes usually when I am standing for long periods, during sleep under covers (have to sleep with foot uncovered), or wearing shoes and socks (been wearing sandals). My toes are always freezing cold. Always. But I can’t wear socks because my foot gets burning hot and uncomfortable.

MRI results with contrast came back and says I have intense bone marrow edema (swelling) on my distal toes as well as metatarsal effusion (fluid). One of the etiologies listed says severe Raynaud’s phenomenon but my symptoms aren’t associated with cold, they are associated with heat. My doctor has also mentioned EM as a possibility. Are Raynaud’s and EM related?

I am wondering if anyone has shown similar MRI results?

Hi Sierra,

I’ve never had an MRI to confirm a Raynauds/EM diagnosis but fairly certain I have both as my toes are either ice cold or hot from the EM flares, there’s no happy medium.

Has your doctor mentioned CRPS? That is typically unilateral and has similar symptoms to those described. EM is usually bilateral.

Thank you, no he has not mentioned this as a possibility. I am being referred to another vascular specialist familiar with Raynaud’s so I will ask him about it.

Did you have an injury to the affected area prior to onset of symptoms? It could be as minor as stubbing your toe or dropping an object on your foot. CRPS is typically preceded by a causative event, either injury or surgery. I recognize if it has been some time since symptom onset this could be difficult to remember.

Yes, I have had repeated injuries to my big toe nail bed. Ingrown toe nail, multiple infections, and subungual hematomas from hiking. Injuries have been as long as 10 years ago up to one year ago. Could injury to nail bed cause this?

Absolutely, it could. You definitely need to see a doctor who can do a differential diagnosis between CRPS and EM.

One thing to consider, since you could potentially have CRPS, you should NOT ice that foot. Icing can progress CRPS through its stages, making symptoms worse. That progression can be irreversible.

Thank you, I will bring this up to the doc next.

My symptoms started around the time I had an ingrown toenail removed on my right big toe.

Site member “mnp” wrote an extensive blog about his journey after developing EM post ingrown toenail surgery, linking you the latest post from 2015 which contains his summary.

Thank you I will look into that.

I have EM also in my hands and in the winter, they hurt so bad if they are cold, almost as if someone poured acid on my fingers…the doctor who diagnosed me said it was EM not Raynaud’s even though I was reacting to cold. If I am remembering correctly, my feet used to do the same thing but now I can stand in the snow barefoot and be in heaven.