Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Expert Forum
Occasional purple hands
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Questions in the Peripheral Arterial Disease forum are answered by Dr. Lee Kirksey, associate professor at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Topics covered include abdominal aortic aneurysm , amputation, arteriovenous fistula, atherectomy, carotid artery surgery , cholesterol , claudication, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) , endovascular aortic stent graft (EVAR), stent placement , stroke prevention, varicose veins , and venous insufficiency .

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Occasional purple hands

I'm in my mid-20's. After a bike injury 8 months ago, I notice my hands have had tendencies to turn purple. The biking accident injured some skin and muscle on my left hand. During the winter, I noticed my hand would turn purple AFTER I returned from the cold. The hand looks normal when I'm outside in the cold, only when I come back inside does it turn purple. Most of the purple color is around the major, deeper cuts I had as a result of the accident, but one time it involved a larger surface on the back of my hand. There is no pain or tingling when this happens or at any other time. During the winter, these events happened maybe once every few weeks and usually only happens when I come back from the cold without gloves. However, recently it happened again while the weather was fairly warm and while I was inside the whole time. There was no cold exposure this time. Since the purple color is usually near the sites of injury, I imagine that had a lot to do with it. But I'm not sure what the cause could be, or if it's something I should be worried about. Could this be a normal part of the long term healing process? Has there likely been damage to the veins in my hands?
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Hello
It sounds like the changes are not associated with any pain, they occur nowhere else and were not present before the injury. Color changes, most commonly in the extremities, is referred to as acrocyanosis (engorgement of the veins of these areas) I agree that it is probably related to damage to the veins at the time of your injury. The process is usually harmless and self limited and should probably reverse with time. If not a little bit unsettling the first time it occurs. The process can be triggered by weather changes, stress or other environmental stimulus.

The term raynaud's phenomenon is used to describe the process when it occurs on other areas simultaneously, like both feet or both hands. This process is occasionally treated with calcium channel blocking medication which relaxes the blood vessels and prevents them from constricting. Good luck. At least you have a new topic of discussion for your next date.
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Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
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