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How to prevent and treat chilblains on the feet?

Whenever the temperatures start to get cold, there are a number of clinical conditions start to show up that do not normally occur in the warmer temperatures. One of these conditions is chilblains. There are lesions that generally occur on the toes and are due to an inflammatory reaction in the small blood vessels when they do not respond to the warming up after the toes become cold. This results in a painful itchy reddish coloured patch on the toes. If this keeps occurring, they become chronic and take on a dark bluish colour and the skin may break down. This may lead to an infection if treatment is not started. The exact cause is not totally clear. They are not related to poor circulation as those with good circulation still get them. The problem is more of one of how the circulation reacts to changes in the temperature. While they typically affect the toes, they can affect the fingers, nose and ears.

Chilblains are best treated by not getting them in the first place. The foot should be kept warm with good socks and footwear to protect them from the cold. If the foot does get cold, then it is important that it be allowed to warm up slowly so that the circulation has a chance to react to that change in temperature. Often the worse think to do after it gets cold is to go and place the foot in front of a heater. If a chilblain does occur, then the foot still needs to be kept warm to prevent more occurring and to stop the problem becoming chronic. Various creams can be used to help stimulate the circulation. This should probably be done a few times a day. If the skin is broken, then dressings should be used to prevent an infection developing. If these are becoming a problem, then you probably should see a podiatrist.