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Purple finger after hosing

So, the last two times it’s been a combo of muddy and icy, I have had to run a garden horse and spray nozzle for about an hour in an outdoor washrack (with hot water) to de-ice legs and tails off of our many horses. Both times, about two weeks apart, my little finger of my right hand (which pulls the trigger on the spray nozzle) has turned completely purple. Any ideas what is causing this? It was pretty cold both days. I get cold easily, but was wearing full-on cold weather gear and gloves. It’s a pretty dramatic looking bruise. Wasn’t sure whether to put this in horse care, or riders with health problems! Also, the finger seems to stay cold after for a few days

Are you sure it’s a bruise?
Have you looked into Reynaud’s disease? (Also called Reynaud’s phenomenon) It’s a vasospasm in response to cold.


My first thought was it’s from the cold.
Did your finger get wet, even through the glove?
Have you tried wearing a surgical/rubber glove under your glove? (like us oldsters who used to put plastic bags over our feet before putting them in snow boots back in the day)

I agree with @yaya that it’s probably a response to the cold.

This is what it looks like

It looks like the tip of your middle finger is also slightly darker and your index finger as well. I would bring up with your doc to see if there are issues with the circulation in your hand.


if your hands are being sprayed with cold water in below freezing temps for an hour and here is any wind you might be frost nipping them. I guess I don’t understand why you are hosing ice off outside with cold water when it’s below freezing? If there really is a reason this has to be done then get some insulated waterproof gloves or mittens to wear.

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I wouldn’t mess around with that. You could lose a finger. I’d have it looked at asap.


It may be chillblain. Take a look online and consider communication with your doc. Usually self treatment


It’s a hot water hose to melt icicles off fetlocks

Well then it might be chilblains. The advice is likely to either not do this or to insulate your hands and keep them dry.

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Wore gloves the whole time–hands have not gotten wet either time. First time it happened two weeks ago, I didn’t even associate it with having hosed/held the spray nozzle. But when it happened again today after hosing, I finally put two and two together that the hosing triggered it. Previously, I thought it was Achenbach’s syndrome, which is no big deal when you google it. But I thought maybe someone on this board might have experienced something similar when I realized it is coming from hosing

I don’t understand the reason for doing this. If the horse’s are coming in from turnout, their body heat will melt the ice as they hang out in their stalls. If I absolutely had to get muddy ice off I’d damn sure not be doing it outside!

If you’re bound and bent to continue doing this, change out the nozzle for one with a lockable trigger and once locked on, hold the hose by the hose hose itself and not the nozzle so your hand can benefit from the warmth of the water flowing through it.


Does it hurt? Is it numb? Is it painful as it warms up?
I have terrible reynauds and my fingers turn deep bluish purple in the cold. When I was younger my fingers hurt as they warmed back up, now they’re pretty numb.
Your finger looks more blood-filled, like a bruise, as you said. In any case, I’d have it looked at. If it’s reynauds, you likely will want to avoid working outside in the cold. :pensive:


It happens a few times a year that when you have mud outside, followed by freezing, they end up with clumps of ice/mud hanging off their fetlocks and tails like Christmas tree ornaments. If any of you saw it, you would not leave it on to melt–the ice balls bang against their legs as they walk, and do not melt easily b/c of the mud combo. Wash rack is outside because we don’t have hot water in the barn. We have 20+ horses to get ready for morning lessons so just waiting for it to warm up is not an option. Thankfully it only happens a couple times a year.


Doesn’t really hurt, and not numb. Sorry to hear about your situation! Not working outside in the cold would be a tough prospect where I live. Do you live some place warmer for Reynaud’s?

It just looks like a bruise. I’m sure you burst a capillary or something while holding the hose. I’ve done similar things - silly random things - once turning my garden tractor using the flat of my hand and somehow rolled a tendon or something weirdly in my finger and had a similar bruise.

If it’s not swollen and/or won’t bend normally, I wouldn’t worry. (Not a doctor, but I wouldn’t worry if it was my finger.)

I think it’s just that however you’re holding the spray nozzle, it’s cutting off your circulation to that finger. Change how you’re holding the nozzle or take some breaks to flex your fingers, and see if that changes anything.

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I agree. Having icicles on the fetlocks is normal in cold weather climates and won’t hurt the horses one bit. My horses had them in MN from Oct- May. Never suffered one bit.

I would get myself to a doctor asap.


It’s not harmful to horses but doing a lesson with icicles jangling off their legs can’t be pleasant and could potentially be unsafe. So it makes sense in a lesson barn.

When my horses get icicles I don’t bother with their fetlocks and tails but do warm up and melt off the ones hanging off their face. They mist be annoying.

This isn’t little icicles like you get in regular cold weather. This is 1-2 times a year where the ice and mud combine to create frozen round globs the size of billiard balls, multiple balls per leg. No way can you work horses with them–they pick their hocks way up, and their swinging tails (with clumps) would make them scoot. I’ll have to resurrect this thread next year and take a picture so that you guys can see what I mean. Picture apple sized balls of ice hitting the horses’ legs as they move, dangling from the fetlock hairs so that they swing and bounce.

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