Chilblains are small lesions caused by the inflammation of tiny blood vessels after exposure to cold air. They’re often painful and tend to affect your extremities such as the tips of your fingers and toes.
Chilblains most often develop on your extremities such as your toes. Symptoms include a burning sensation on the skin, patches of red, blue or white which may even be swollen and intense itching. The skin around this area will usually be quite dry, leading to splits and cracks in the skin, secondary infection and in severe cases can even cause ulceration.
Why does this happen?
Although the exact cause is unknown, it is thought to be caused by a combination of poor circulation and cold weather.
How do I treat it?
- Resist the urge to scratch - you don't want to cause any more damage to the skin
- Lanolin or similar rubbed into the feet, will help retain body heat.
- Wear woolen or cotton socks.
- Keep your whole body warm - Don't heat the feet too quickly as this can actually make the condition worse! Focus on worming your whole body up
- Gentle exercise will help improve circulation to your feet.
When should I seek professional treatment?
If you have severe or ulcerating chilblains, you will require professional attention. Book in today for a consultation with one of our qualified podiatrists.