A Mississippi woman headed to the doctor in agony after enormous blisters erupted on her ankles and feet.
Jessica Jones showed WVUE the reaction on her feet, which caused her ankles to appear purple and swollen — saying that she had no idea what caused it until she visited the emergency room.
“The dermatologist said they see this all the time, but never as severe as this,” Jones said. The reaction began as a red splotch on her ankle, which came after she noticed at work one day that her ankle was feeling tight. She thought the splotch was a spider bite, and her doctor told her that it appeared to be cellulitis. She was prescribed antibiotics and sent home.
The next day, Jones was in overwhelming pain and blisters started forming on her ankles.
“It really scared me because I’m thinking, what is going on?” she said.
Jones went to the emergency room in Picayune, Mississippi, where doctors diagnosed her with bullous pemphigoid, a rare skin condition that is relation to an autoimmune disorder. She was prescribed pain pills and steroid cream and then sent home. Days later, the blisters grew.
“It was just the most miserable pain I ever felt in my life,” she said. “And all I would do is just sit there and cry.”
Two more visits and diagnoses followed, with one doctor telling her she had a photosensitivity rash. Another said she might have systemic lupus erthyrematosus. More prescriptions were given, but the pain continued to get worse.
“It scared me because I’m thinking, what if they have to amputate my feet? That was going through my mind,” she said. By that point, Jones had to use a wheelchair to get around.
“They’re telling me this is lupus, bullous impetigus, and I said, this is getting worse. I said, I’ve been on all these antibiotics, steroids, creams — nothing’s working,” she said. “And I said I can’t take it anymore, I’m done.”
Two weeks after the first hospital visit, Jones called 911 and an ambulance rushed her to Oschner Hospital in New Orleans. Finally, a doctor asked her if she’d worn new shoes recently. It turns out that Jones recently bought and wore a pair of leather sandals, just one week before the problems began.
“I noticed a couple of days after wearing them, the top of my feet was getting sore, but I didn’t think anything of it. Shoes have always done that whenever I tighten the straps up on them,” she said. “The doctor said where the strap is located on the shoe is exactly where your burns are. She says this is looking more like a chemical burn from leather more than bullous impetigus or lupus.”
Jones was diagnosed with contact dermatitis, a severe reaction to a chemical in the shoes.
After treatment, Jones was able to walk again but said she might never wear leather shoes. She added that she hopes others don’t experience what she did.
“I don’t wish this on anybody. This was miserable,” she said. “It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”