Medical Information

Explore detailed information about a range of joint problems and treatments, including medications, surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Reading this will help you understand more about your own condition. There is also a glossary with explanations of many medical terms used in orthopaedics. You can find out even more by following the links page to other related websites, journals or professional medical associations.

Hover over links below to view summary or click on the link to view full article:

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

This booklet has been produced for anyone interested in finding out more about Raynaud’s phenomenon. We start out by explaining what this condition is. We go on to say something about other conditions which Raynaud’s can be associated with, how these can be checked out, and what can be done to help.

What is Raynaud’s phenomenon?
If you have Raynaud’s phenomenon your hands, and sometimes your feet, change colour when exposed to cold conditions. Typically the hands go white, then blue, and then red as follows:
White: as the blood supply to the fingers is reduced
Blue: as the blood in the fingers becomes short of oxygen, and finally…
Red: as the blood comes rushing back when the hands become warm again.

Many people do not experience all three stages. For example, the hands may simply go blue then red. These colour changes are often accompanied by pain or a tingling feeling. People with Raynaud’s phenomenon often complain of cold feet as well, and the tip of the nose may also feel uncomfortable and change colour in the cold. Examples of the sort of situation that might bring on an attack of Raynaud’s are going out on a cold day or reaching into the freezer to take out some frozen food.

What causes Raynaud’s phenomenon?
We do not fully understand why some people develop Raynaud’s phenomenon, but others do not. For some reason the blood supply to the fingers and toes is reduced, especially in the cold. The blood supply to the fingers and toes is controlled by nerves connected to the blood vessels. The nerves can reduce the blood supply in response to certain situations, one of which is exposure to conditions of severe cold – this normal response prevents a loss of heat from the body. People with Raynaud’s phenomenon probably have an exaggerated response to cold and shut off the blood supply more quickly than normal. Emotional changes, such as anxiety, can also cause an attack of Raynaud’s by triggering the nerves to shut down the blood supply.
Link –

© OrthopaedicsOpinionOnline 2011
 Full text pdf

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Orthopaedic Opinion Online or the author. The information is provided for general background reading only and should not be relied upon for treatment. Advice should always be taken from a registered medical practitioner for individual circumstances and for treatment of any patient in any circumstances. No liability is accepted by Orthopaedic Opinion Online, or the author in respect to the information provided in respect of the content or omission or for any reason or as a result of treatment in individual circumstances. This information is not for use in the USA.