Chilblains are small, itchy, red, painful, burning swellings on your skin, which occur due to cold weather. Sometimes your skin may break down over the swelling and may become infected. Your toes, fingers, nose and ears are most common areas for the appearance of chilblains.

Causes

  • Quick changes in temperature from cold to hot, eg warming your hands and feet too quickly.
  • Some medications.
  • Damp environment.
  • An abnormal body response to the cold.

Who is at risk?

  • Elderly people.
  • If you have poor circulation.
  • If you are diabetic.
  • If you have anaemia.
  • If you smoke.

Treatment

Apply soothing lotions eg calamine or witch hazel to the areas affected. Your GP can check your medications and prescribe creams or tablets if needed.

Prevention

Prevention is better than a cure. Keeping your feet warm and not allowing them to become cold will help prevent chilblains.

  • Wear warm or thermal socks.
  • Don’t walk barefoot.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Don’t warm feet with direct heat eg fire, hot water bottle, hot baths as this makes them worse.
  • Warm feet slowly with blankets or warm clothing.
  • Dry feet thoroughly after washing.

Consult a podiatrist for advice

The podiatry administration office can be contacted on 01274 221165.

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