News and Commentary

Does Aaron Rodgers Really Have COVID Toe? Is That Even A Thing?
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 08: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after getting the win against the Washington Redskins at Lambeau Field on December 08, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat down for an interview Tuesday and when asked about his health following a bout with COVID-19, he quipped “no lingering effects, other than the COVID Toe.”

That prompted the esteemed Wall Street Journal to pen a lengthy piece headlined, “Aaron Rodgers Doesn’t Just Have Any Toe Injury. He Has COVID Toe.”

“COVID Toe is a casual name for something medically known as pernio or chilblains, which is a condition that causes symptoms such as discoloration and lesions. It can be extremely painful and turn the toes purple,” said the paper.

“The shred of good news, when it comes to COVID Toes, is that they’re a sign of the body’s strong immune response to the virus. Recent research, including an October study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, has found that COVID Toes typically occur in younger patients who experience mild symptoms. The problem is that, when the body produces too much of a type of interferon, it can create other problems—and produce COVID Toes,” said the Journal.

The paper also said the injury to Rodgers’ pinky toe fits the timeline. The public first learned that Rodgers tested positive on Nov. 3 and he was sidelined for 10 days, missing a game. He returned to play against the Seattle Seahawks on November 14, but the day before the game, Rodgers was added to the team’s injury report with a toe injury. He played through the pain but the Packers lost.

For the record, Rodgers himself said this on the Pat McAfee Show: “This is something that’s not going to go away. One option not on the table is sitting out. I’m going to push through this.” He added: “I believe that I mentioned it was more painful than turf toe. That joint in the big toe [with turf toe], it is very painful. So naturally I’m leading people to understand if it’s worse than turf toe, there must be some sort of bone issue.” He mentioned that one option is surgery.

Others said Rodgers doesn’t suffer from “COVID Toe.”

“McAfee and Rodgers threw around the phrase ‘COVID toe’ — seemingly joking — as one possible explanation for his issue, as has been speculated by some fans making the connection between a COVID-19 diagnosis and a toe issue,” wrote USA Today. “But while the mysterious COVID-19 toe ailment could be painful, it’s not common to have pain associated with the skin discoloration that has shown up in some COVID-19 patients in fingers and toes. There isn’t a universally agreed upon timetable for the ailment to heal, which would differ from Rodgers’ certainty that he’d be dealing with the issue for several more weeks.”

NBC Sports also weighed in, saying: “We regarded the ‘COVID toe’ comment as a joke, not as an acknowledgement that the current bone issue he’s dealing with in his foot is a complication of his COVID diagnosis. The Wall Street Journal took a different approach, entirely. Here’s hoping that, when Rodgers has his weekly session with reporters on Wednesday, someone will seek and secure clarification.”

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