What Are Chilblains?

What Are Chilblains?

After the wonderful winter wonderland weather we have experienced this week, what better time than to talk about the not so wonderful Chilblains!

Winter & Chilblains, a chilling topic!

What are chilblains?

Chilblains are red itchy, swollen bumps which appear on the skin following sudden changes in temperature. The blood vessels which supply the toes are some of the smallest in the body.  Therefore, in cold conditions these blood vessels constrict and become even smaller, however if the vessels are made to dilate rapidly as the result of a change in temperature, small amounts of blood are thought to leak out of the vessel producing the painful swellings in the skin.

Who is most susceptible to developing chilblains?

Anyone can suffer from chilblains however some patient groups are more susceptible than others, they include;
Anyone who works outdoors, such as gardeners, builders or mechanics etc.
People who wear thin socks or shoes outdoors in cold weather.
People with circulatory disorders such as Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Females are more prone to chilblains than men.

How can your Podiatrist treat chilblains?

A Podiatrist may use the following treatment methods in the education and management of a chilblain:

Check the skin for cracks or signs of infection.
Carefully reduce any surface callus (hard skin).
If the skin has broken or is ulcerated the area will be treated and dressed with a dry dressing.
Padding and strapping techniques may be used to relieve the pressure on the affected area.
Provide the patient with advice and education on how to prevent the chilblains from recurring.
So remember, always wear the correct footwear to suit the weather conditions and never place cold feet on the radiator…no matter how tempting it is to warm those toes up after playing in the snow!

If you are concerned you may have chilblains or suspect your child may be suffering then contact your Podiatrist today or request an appointment for treatment.

For further information on chilblains visit The College of Podiatry’s website.

Burnham Podiatry Clinic | Chilblains | Winter Health Issues

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