For many people winter can be a time to dread due to their experiences with chilblains. For those of you who are unfamiliar with chilblains I’ll touch on the signs, symptoms and how a podiatrist can help.
What are chilblains?
- Red, itchy, painful lesions, bumps or blisters that typically occur on the tips of your toes
- Common after exposure to cold temperatures and rapid temperature changes from cold to warmth
- Caused by a narrowing of blood vessels in cold weather followed by a rapid widening of the vessels when temperatures rise
- Small amounts of blood will leak into surrounding tissue, this is where the red or purple discolouration will originate from
How can you reduce the likelihood of chilblains?
- Temperature regulation is key, keeping warm is the best defence
- Warm socks and shoes are very important, although don’t neglect your core temperature and layer up with jumpers and jackets
- Avoid large and rapid fluctuations in temperature such as hot showers or baths soon after taking off wet, damp clothing and socks
- Using socks that manage moisture and temperature such as Steigen socks
- Exercise regularly, if you’re stuck at a desk or sedentary for large parts of the day give yourself 5 minutes every hour to wiggle your toes or get up and move about to keep your blood flowing
- Symptoms such as itchiness or pain can be managed with different topical ointments and medications
You’ve got chilblains, should you be worried?
The short answer is no, in most cases chilblains resolve within a few weeks with the right management and typically with no lingering effects.
Should I see a podiatrist about chilblains?
As with all foot and lower limb conditions a podiatrist should be your first point of contact to begin your management. A podiatrist will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis of the chilblains and work with you to put a management plan in place to get your symptoms under control as quickly as possible.
If left untreated chilblains can blister or become infected so it is always advisable to get on top of them early and seek advice if your symptoms are not resolving with proper management. If you have any existing conditions that affect your circulation speak to your podiatrist about how best to manage chilblains.
If you have any questions about chilblains or anything related to your feet and legs let me know, I’m here to help!
Hawthorn and Kensington Podiatrist