What are chilblains?
Chilblains are a superficial and localized inflammation of the skin that is the result of a reduced vascular response to cold temperature. They can cause itchiness, swelling, redness and blisters on your hands and feet.
How do I know if I have them?
Some of the signs and symptoms related to chilblains includes:
Small and itchy, red areas on the skin. In some cases the skin may blister which may delay healing and leave a small ulcer
Increasingly painful as they get congested and take on a dark blue appearance
Burning sensation on the skin
The affected area is swollen.
How can I self manage them?
They usually disappear within 1 to 3 weeks (especially if the weather gets warmer.) There are some things you can try to get rid of them yourself and stop them coming back:
Protect yourself from the cold with gloves and thick socks: People often think that the more socks and tights they wear ,the warmer the feet and hands will be. This is not really the case as it restricts the circulation and increases the chilling of the feet. Remember it is the quality of the hosiery and the footwear that is important and not necessarily the quantity.
Use lotion on the skin to prevent damage and ease symptoms
Since they can be quite itchy, avoid scratching them as much as possible because it can cause breaks in the skin and ulcerations.
Do not put your feet in front of direct heat or on radiators or hot water bottles
Regular exercise, not smoking, and a healthy low-fat diet packed with fruit and vegetables, are essential to keep the circulation strong
Do not walk barefoot on cold surfaces and avoid extremes of temperature
Warm your shoes on the radiator before you put them on – make sure damp shoes are dry before you wear them; if your feet are already cold, make sure your shoes aren't too hot to avoid causing chilblains.
if you're diabetic, regularly check your feet (or ask someone else to do this) people with diabetes may not be able to feel their feet and could have infected chilblains without realizing it.
Call us today on 01279 438444 to find out more about treatment for chilblains or to book an appointment at our well established, friendly Chiropody & Podiatry clinic located in Old Harlow. We are well located and are happy to see patients from any area including Sawbridgeworth, Bishop's Stortford, Epping, Roydon, Nazeing, Broxbourne, North Weald, Loughton, Ongar, Stansted and beyond.