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Cold days, cold feet & chilblains

May 29, 2018

Every year when the cold hits we see a worrying increase in feet suffering from a range of conditions, the most common complaint being chilblains particularly on the toes. 


Chilblains are an uncomfortable and often painful skin condition that occur as a reaction to cold temperatures. Symptoms typically include a burning or itching sensation in the affected areas, affected skin may swell and colour may change from pale pink/red to dark blue. In more severe cases the surface of the skin may break and sores or blisters can develop. Chilblains rarely cause permeant damage but they are uncomfortable and do require treatment to prevent ulcers.


Factors that increase your risk of chilblains include:

  • Poor circulation

  • A family history of chilblains

  • Skin that is exposed to cold, damp conditions

  • Lack of appropriate warm clothing - not enough layers or wearing cotton 

  • Females are more susceptible to chilblains 

  • Low body weight 

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon - a condition that affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body, usually fingers and toes


To prevent chilblains:

  • Dress appropriately for the weather with several layers of woollen or synthetic clothing 

  • Dry shoes between wear

  • Change socks as soon as they get damp 

  • Apply Vicks Vapour rub to feet - aids circulation 

  • Limit exposure to cold 

  • If your feet are cold warm them slowly under warm water 


If you are concerned you have Chilblains or would like more information to prevent/treat them don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our Podiatrists at Simply Feet Podiatry.

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