Chilblains. What are they and how to prevent them?

The number of Chilblain cases are much more noticeable this time of the year. Despite the end of winter the cold still remains in the air. Many have been indoors during long winters of COVID in the past couple of years, therefore low exposure to colder weathers makes them more susceptible to Chilblains.    

So what are Chilblains? 

Chilblains are caused due to exposure to cold and damp temperatures. It’s more related to your overall circulation and how it reacts to colder temperatures. Exposure to colder temperatures could constrict your smaller blood vessels. This could result in ruptures of the blood vessels causing blood to leak into the surrounding tissues. This creates inflamed areas on the skin, causing chilblains. However the exact causes for chilblains are still not very clear.

Chilblains usually last for 3-4 weeks and might resolve on its own. It doesn’t usually result in any complications. However, any medical conditions that reduce the blood flow down to your foot like Diabetes could cause complications such as ulcerations and infections alongside Chilblains.

What do Chilblains look like?

It usually presents as an itchy rash or blister with localised swelling, commonly at the toes and forefoot. There might be a burning pain associated at the site and could also take up a red/ purple/ brown (bruise like) discoloration. The area of the toes and feet would also feel colder to touch.

How can a podiatrist help with Chilblains?

Podiatrists could help with providing management options alongside treatments for Chilblains. Chilblains usually resolve spontaneously and might not require treatments. However many at home remedies and care is vital to get the symptoms under control.   

Preventative measures and management of chilblains:

  • Keeping feet and body warm during colder weather. 
  • Wearing socks.
  • Keeping your home warm.
  • Exercise regularly to improve circulation.
  • Smoking cessation.
  • Weekly sessions of Laser therapy. 

Should you have any questions or would like to know if we can help you, call our team on (03) 9711 7562 or make an appointment with me through Book Online | The Footcare Clinic on our website!

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