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Understanding and Preventing Chilblains: Stay Warm and Pain-Free This Winter with Custom Podiatry Services

Winter is here, bringing chilly temperatures that can make even the warmest socks feel insufficient. Many of us suffer from cold feet, which can lead to painful, tender toes. If you've ever experienced chilblains (Erythema Pernio), you know just how excruciating they can be. At Custom Podiatry Services, we're here to help you understand, treat, and prevent this winter woe.

What are chilblains?

Chilblains are painful, itchy patches or blisters typically found on your hands or feet. These occur due to the constriction of small blood vessels in response to repeated cold exposure. As the body redirects blood flow to vital organs to keep them warm, our hands and feet are left more susceptible to cold. While the exact cause of chilblains is still unknown, we know how to treat and prevent them effectively.

Who is at Risk?

Certain factors increase the likelihood of developing chilblains, including:

  • Elderly or sedentary lifestyles

  • Women are more prone than men

  • Poor circulation or conditions like Diabetes, Vasculitis or Raynaud’s Disease

  • Smoking

  • Being underweight

  • Family history of chilblains

  • Medications that constrict blood vessels, such as beta-blockers

  • Wearing tight clothing or shoes

Recognizing the Symptoms

The symptoms of chilblains can be quite distinctive and include:

  • Red, blue, or purple patches on the skin

  • Intense itching

  • Localized swelling, especially on the toes

  • A burning sensation despite the skin being cold to the touch

  • Blistering, which can lead to ulcers and infections

Complications to Watch For

Blistering can result in ulcerations and infections, which are not only painful but can also be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Effective Treatment Options

If you suspect you have chilblains, here’s what you should do:

  • Gently rewarm the skin – Avoid direct heat or hot water to prevent burns.

  • Resist the urge to scratch – Scratching can damage the skin further.

  • Use soothing lotions – Calamine lotion or witch hazel can reduce itching.

  • Apply antiseptic creams – These prevent infections in broken skin.

  • Consult with your GP – Review your medications and explore options that dilate small blood vessels.

For recurring chilblains, your Podiatrist and GP can prescribe medications to help manage the condition.

Prevention is Key

Preventing chilblains involves keeping warm and protecting your skin from cold exposure. Here are some tips:

  • Wear woolen, loose-fitting socks and bed socks.

  • Ensure your shoes, socks, and gloves are not too tight.

  • Dress in layers of loose clothing and use warm, water-resistant footwear.

  • Keep exposed skin covered in cold weather.

  • Maintain a comfortably warm environment at home and work.

  • Keep your core body temperature up to aid blood flow to extremities.

  • Regular check-ups with a podiatrist – Professional treatments and advice can minimize your risks.

Book Your Consultation Today

If you're concerned about chilblains this winter, our expert podiatrists at Custom Podiatry Services are here to help. We provide professional advice, education, and treatment to help you stay comfortable and healthy through the colder months. Don’t wait until the pain becomes unbearable.

Connect with Us

Don’t let chilblains put a chill on your winter. Trust Custom Podiatry Services to keep you warm and pain-free!


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