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Hand-foot syndrome is a side effect that may occur with specific types of chemotherapy treatments. It's a skin reaction that occurs on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
Mild symptoms may include:
Severe symptoms include:
Certain types of chemotherapy are more likely to cause hand-foot syndrome. The cause stems from exposure of the chemotherapy medication which leaks into the cells from the small blood vessels called capillaries.
This causes damage to the skin cells in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Heat, friction and pressure from daily activities on your hands and feet can contribute to the formation of the skin reaction.
There are prevention strategies you can use to reduce the chance of developing hand-foot syndrome. You may want to use them during the first six weeks of treatment. They include:
If you notice your hands and feet are getting red and tender, notify your provider. Many times your chemotherapy dosage can be held or reduced to prevent additional or severe symptoms. Your provider may also suggest mild pain relievers and other strategies to manage your symptoms.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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After being on Xeloda for a few cycles (2 weeks oral pills, one week off) my feet started showing symptoms of the hand/foot syndrome - pads forming ... red ... hot ... mild pain but I could walk. Then not realizing that power walking would aggravate hand/foot Syndrome my feet became so sore I could not walk and I got large blisters on the small toes on both feet. My doc had me take an extra week off. Then after just walking in order to function, keeping them cool, wearing loose foot ware AND applying VASELINE (I really think it was the main help) and Udder Cream for my feet several times a day, it alleviated the severity considerably so I could function.
Surprisingly to me as I am making it through my 8th and final cycle (totaled six months) with Xeloda, my feet started peeling, redness went AWAY and I have 6 more days of pills to go (HURRAH) and my feel are close to normal. This is crazy to me as I would think they would have gotten progressively worse????? with all that chemo!!! I have have had other Xeloda reactions but not being able to walk was the one that scared me the most!!!!
This is Cyndee again, I forgot to say my hands n fingers
peel as do my feet and I have nerve neuropathy in my feet,
especially my toes! Sorry I left this out!
I told my oncologist my hands n feet would turn red n burn during my chemo, she sed it was frm the treatment. I asked her about red rings all the way around my legs below my
shins and above my ankles, she said don't worry about that.
Now that it's 5 years later I have spots that look like brown freckles on my legs there, lots of them, they are so noticeable that people ask me about them.
What will take them away?? They are really dark and extend about 4 inches up my leg and are worse in the back of my leg.
I need more help. Husband is not getting enough feedback on how to deal with this. He's beginning to have trouble walking and is always in pain.
I have not had chemo but I have most of the symptoms addressed in this article. I do have metal rods, screws, plates, etc. as the result of a motorcycle accident in 2006 but have never had problems associated with that unless that's what's causing my problems now. Can you make any suggestions?
I have never had chemotherapy; however, I have most of these symptoms. I had a motorcycle accident in 2006 and have lots of metal (rods, screws, filters, etc.) in my body. Could this be the cause?
There are two different conditions.
Neuropathy which causes pins and needles, tingling, can be sensitive to cold depending what chemo you are on, numbness and pain.
And hand-foot syndrome which is the redness blistering peeling hot skin etc.
Two different conditions.
Following 82 hours of chemo my hand tingle, burn, are swollen and fingers cracking and now my nail beds are turning red like I've smashed them. I work with my hands daily as an irrigation contractor and can barely grip anything. Help haha
Can coconut oil be good to rub feet with?
I take Capecitibine for Colon Cancer Maintenance, it builds up in my system after the 3rd regimine, and it causes the Hand & Foot Syndrome, which is where the hands and bottoms of the feet turn red, and the tips of the fingers hurt so badly I can barely button my buttons. I put lots of cremes and Aloe on them but not much relief. Oncologist and Nurses say this happens in a small percentage of Patients, Just my Luck. May not be able to continue this Med. if I don't find any relief. I am on 2000 mg a day, on 2 weeks off 1 week. If anyone has found any cremes or vitamins that work please let me know.
Get onto a copper based cream developed in Australia. Have seen great results from it. Stopping pain almost instantly and bringing back feeling. www.blueheelercare.com.au
So Sheryl what happens after the first 6 weeks, will the skin continue to blacken?
After 5 years I still have little feeling on soles of feet from severe hand & feet syndrome due to chemo. Now I have tingling in some toes...is this part of this syndrome.
I also had the burning, tingling, pain that has been described in this article due to chemo treatment. My mom bought aloe vera and it was a God send until it stopped working. My treatment team asked that I try Gentian Violet and that worked! It is messy but it helped reduce the burning feeling that I was experiencing for a whole month. My mother also did some research and found a spray on a cancer site that has also helped with some burning that I experience when walking for periods period of time, like at the doctors office. It is called CV Skinlabs: Rescue and Relief Spray and I swear by this product. Read the reviews on Amazon as I am unable to post a link here.
What can you do for sore feet
How do you deal with hand and foot sydrome
At the start of my treatment all I was told use some crezm on hands & feet. Use cotton gloves and socks before rdtiring!
No mention of heat, standind, rubbing too hard thet nes I just had a toenail removed which xI had to soak in wRm water!
Even after staggering into the Doctors layers of skin fallin awst frim my big toe, walking too much. Taking away the bandaid I watched many layers fall a away exposing flowing red blood inside toe.
Staggering into office yelping like I had tererts schocks of pain,only to be eyed like I was Dr shopping for pain meds and a littke baby nurse saying use some moisturizer and some cotton gloves & sockx! First time6 years of cancer I started reading I feel better....char of Tampa fl Watch over your loved ones....
just finished chemotherapy about a month ago.
for colon cancer, now I have been hot flashes on the top of my left foot. Is this normal?
I am so ticked off right now.... I am at the point that is the worst point...peeling, red swollen and it keeps spreading. The oncologysts office says it cant be the medications because I have been off of them for three weeks due to a severe reaction to them. The Derm says "oh yes, we see this all the time with cancer paitents"... who do I believe? I am so disgusted and discouraged at this point knowing that if someone had told me this from the begining I wouldn't look and feel like a freeking Leper!
MY HUSBAND WAS TOLD TO AVOID TOUCHING COLD THINGS, NOT DRINK COLD BEVERAGES, ETC. HOWEVER HE IS EXPERIENCING THE PAIN,SWELLING, PEELING OF THE SKIN AND DARKENING OF THE SKIN. YOUR ARTICLE HAS A REMEDY CONTRARY TO WHAT HE WAS TOLD TO DO DURING HIS CHEMO THERAPY! PLEASE HELP HIM HE IS IN ALOT OF PAIN.
I finished my LAST chemo session 10 days ago (YAY me!!).. I feel like I've gotten off so very lightly compared to most.. just 4 cycles, 3 weeks apart, of docetaxel and cyclophosphamide..
After the 2nd cycle, the skin on my feet, in patches, started turning dark angry red and burning .. and in some areas, blistered. I had NO idea that it was the chemo doing it until I did some internet research, and discovered that yes, it was a potential side effect. I called my oncologist who said "take tylenol, moisturize, and keep your feet dry"... blah.. not all that helpful advice when I was in agony! LOL
ok.. after cycle 4.. I had to laugh because the skin that had previously burned was now shedding like a snake's skin.. not like a normal sunburn peeling will do.. but then the burning returned in new areas.. and started on my hands too... the outsides of my pinkie fingers, and between my thumbs and index fingers at the moment, as well as the sides of both feet, making wearing shoes painful as anything. Ive been slathering my burned areas with aloe vera gel, and moisturizing (gently dabbed on, NOT rubbed in - too painful) and putting soft loose oversized socks on my feet (mostly to keep the moisturizer from ruining my furniture LOL).. also Ive been drinking lots more water than my normal 8 glasses, to try to wash the chemo ICK out of my body!
Pain-wise, when it gets horrible, I take something (tylenol). but otherwise I just hate taking painkillers.
Any other suggestio
Many of you are describing neuropathy, which is the tingling, and numbness that can also occur as a side effect with some types of chemotherapy. Check out the discussion on the Living with Cancer blog index from June, 2010 called Peripheral neuropathy — Managing the side effects of chemotherapy.
Any advice on fingernail loss that my daughter is experiencing with her breast cancer chemotherapy?
Thanks for sharing, Deanne. It helps to keep a sense of humor and to look at the positive. In 3 years of chemo, I never had a headache and said I discovered a cure.but knew it would not become a popular form of treatment.
During chemo my toes became quite numb and this feeling continued somewhat into the ball of each foot. Six years later I am still aware of a slight numbness in the tips of my toes. It has been a slow process for the numbness to go away. Also of interest is the appearance of blister like "sores" on my legs below the knees.They would increase from the size of a 10 cent piece to a 25 cent piece during my later treatments in an eight treatment course. My oncologist had not seen that before but I suggested it appeared to be chemo leaking from my leg veins and pooling to cause the blisters. They would subside in each 3 week period and then occur again most noticeably in the leg having varicose veins.Oddly, the diffusion of blood in my varicose veined leg almost disappeared by the end of treatment (it has since come back completely). I joked to the oncologist that we may have found a treatment of varicose vein leakage, but we agreed that it would probably not be a popular treatment!
My hand and foot problem is a neuropathy, causing my hands and feet to feel cold, numb, tingling with some pain. Sleeping with a heated mattress pad helps keep my feet warm and less painful.
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