Chilblains appear as small itchy and red swellings on the skin. Most commonly on the extremities such as toes and fingers but can also occur on the tip of the nose and on the earlobes.
They can become increasingly painful when they dry out causing the skin to split or crack which then poses an increased risk of entry of an infection.
Chilblains occur in individuals whose skin has an abnormal reaction to the cold. eg: Those suffering from Raynaud’s phenomenon or other connective tissue disorders in the elderly or those with anemia.
Cold, damp or draughty conditions, dietary and hormone imbalances can be a contributory factor.
In the cold and damp conditions susceptible people will experience a burning and itching feeling in their hands and feet. Entering a warm room or heating them too quickly will cause this to intensify. The chilblain can break open to develop into an ulcer.
Prevention is the best form of treatment. Keep extremities warm at all times when conditions are cold and damp, especially if you have a poor circulation and limited mobility. Avoid plastic footwear such as wellingtons and wear thin layers of thermal socks, not thick socks, which could further restrict circulation inside shoes. Do NOT heat up quickly in front of the fire or on a hot water bottle .
If the chilblain has broken (ulcerated ), apply an antiseptic dressing and consult your G.P or Podiatrist .
Sale Podiatry can advise you on Chilblain prevention including the best over-the -counter products to use along with hosiery and footwear advice.