What are chilblains and how to treat them?

What are chilblains and how to treat them?

As the colder months are beginning to settle in, we’re beginning to see more patients with chilblains once again. But what exactly are they, and how do you treat them? 

What are chilblains?

Chilblains are small lesions on the skin that are caused when tiny blood cells become inflamed after exposure to cold air. They can feel very painful, and tend to be found on the tips of your fingers and toes.

What are the symptoms?

  • Dry skin that splits and cracks easily
  • Pain and burning sensations on the skin
  • Red, white or blue patchy areas of skin
  • Intense itching
  • Swelling around the affected area

In severe cases, secondary infections can occur and lead to ulceration which needs professional medical attention from your podiatrist.

What causes chilblains?

Chilblains are thought to be caused be a combination of poor circulation, and cold weather. If you’re exposed to cold air more often, you’re more likely to suffer with chilblains.

How do I treat chilblains?

There are a few measures you can take to help you prevent and treat chilblains.

Keep your body warm
Keeping your whole body warm is important in the treatment and prevention of chilblains. Although warming the area too fast can cause more damage, gently warming your whole body is the best option.

Try woolly socks
Woolly socks help to insulate, which means they’ll trap the heat and keep your feet feeling warm and cosy.

Don’t scratch the area
We completely understand how hard it is to not scratch an itch, but resist the urge as best you can to avoid causing further damage. 

Use lanolin 
Gently rubbing lanolin into the feet will help you to retain body heat.

Take gentle exercise
Gentle exercise is great as it increases the circulation to the feet and the body. Try a gentle stroll, or simply regularly moving your feet and legs if you’re not able to move around freely.

When to see your podiatrist

If you’re struggling with pain, or your chilblains have ulcerated, it’s important to see your podiatrist as soon as possible. We can help you to feel much more comfortable again and have you on the route to recovery. 

Ready to book an appointment or ask for some advice? 
Call us today on 01226 759660 or contact us here