Tender red dots- spotted in the summer

red spots on toes or fingers


What is it? Pictured below are the toes of one of my best friend’s toddler. She is happy, has no fever, and plays nearly everyday in the neighborhood pool. The round shiny pink bumps and dots on her toes appeared yesterday morning and haven’t changed much in a day. They don’t seem to bother her very much… answer below.

It’s Swimming pool pulpitis- a fancy word for a reaction of the pulp (the meaty tip) of fingers or toes. Mostly seen on the finger tips, the pulpitis is usually caused by irritation of the fingers by the rough side of the swimming pool as kids pull themselves in and out. Kids are sometimes annoyed by the dots, but they go away on their own as soon as the kids decide to use the ladder. In this case, this little swimmer irritated her toes, not her fingers, while “monkey walking” along the side of the swimming pool in the water.

Naline Lai, MD with Julie Kardos, MD

©2011,2013, 2015 Two Peds in a Pod®

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  • Reply Michelle August 14, 2015 at 10:41 am

    I had no idea it had an actual name. We call it “pool toe” at our house and that is what I call it to patients as well. funny

  • Reply Roy Benaroch, MD August 15, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Holy cow — it already had a name?!


    • Reply twopedsinapod August 19, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      Everything has a name Dr Benaroch. Just ask the radiologists- they’re good at descriptions of things you never knew existed

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