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Papular-purpuric gloves and socks syndrome
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Papular-purpuric gloves and socks syndrome

Contributors: Daniel Gutierrez MD, Laurie Good MD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Papular-purpuric gloves and socks syndrome (PPGSS) is a rare dermatosis related to infection with human parvovirus B19. Less common causes include infection with measles, human herpesvirus (HHV)-6, or coxsackie B6. PPGSS is most commonly seen in the spring and summer in young adults. It can, however, be seen in children and adolescents.

A flu-like prodrome of fever, myalgia, lymphadenopathy, and malaise can precede or occur simultaneously with the distinctive cutaneous manifestations. Rapidly progressive, extremely pruritic erythema and swelling of the hands and feet are characteristic. Papular purpura then develops, covering the dorsal and palmoplantar aspects of the hands and feet with sharp demarcation at the wrists and ankles, giving the appearance of being covered by gloves or socks. Patients may report burning and itching.

Most patients also develop an enanthem, which may aid in diagnosis. PPGSS is a self-limited disease, and therapy consists of supportive care and maintenance of adequate fluid intake.


L98.8 – Other specified disorders of the skin and subcutaneous tissue

402920006 – Papular purpuric gloves and socks syndrome

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Meningococcal infection – Petechiae may be the earliest sign. Purpuric lesions usually become confluent and necrotic in the center. Patients will report neurologic symptoms. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood cultures aid in confirming the diagnosis.
  • Erythema multiforme – Lesions are targetoid.
  • Gianotti-Crosti syndrome – Lesions are more monomorphic and widespread rather than acral and follow Epstein-Barr virus infection or hepatitis B virus infection.
  • Immunoglobulin A (IgA) vasculitis (formerly Henoch-Schönlein purpura) – Often has acral distribution and is associated with arthritis and abdominal pain. Lesions are usually larger than in PPGSS. Medication history and history of recent infections of the aerodigestive tract may aid diagnosis.
  • Hand-foot-and-mouth disease – Tender vesicles are more likely seen than in PPGSS.
  • Chemotherapy-related painful acral erythema (Burgdorf syndrome)
  • Kawasaki disease – Redness and swelling may be seen on the hands and feet prior to the desquamation that occurs during the second week of the illness.
Pediatric Patient Considerations:
PPGSS mainly affects young adults but has been reported in children and adolescents; it should be included in the differential diagnosis of childhood exanthems.

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Last Reviewed:04/30/2020
Last Updated:04/30/2020
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Papular-purpuric gloves and socks syndrome
A medical illustration showing key findings of Papular-purpuric gloves and socks syndrome : Fatigue, Erythema, Malaise, Palms and soles, Symmetric extremities distribution, Myalgia, Pruritus, Low grade fever, Burning of skin
Clinical image of Papular-purpuric gloves and socks syndrome - imageId=1506677. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Patchy erythema of the palm and fingers.'
Patchy erythema of the palm and fingers.
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.