Managing Chilblains by keeping off the chill this winter.


As the cold weather sets in the nights draw longer and the days shorter it is important to keep warm, especially for the elderly and those with poor circulation. Chilblains can be a common problem in many of the population. Up to as many as 1 in 10 people suffer with chilblains. Some people are more at risk than others.

Chilblains commonly affect:

  • Individuals with poor circulation
  • Individuals with a family history of chilblains
  • Regular and prolonged exposure to cold, damp or draughty conditions
  • Individuals with a poor diet and low body weight
  • Those with Lupus
  • Those with Raynaud’s Phenomenon
  • People who smoke

Chilblains will usually affect the bodies’ extremities, such as fingers, toes, ears and tips of the nose. They appear as red or sometimes purple areas of the skin and can be uncomfortable and itchy although rarely cause permanent damage. They usually heal within a few weeks if the person is able to avoid exposure cold.

They are caused by an abnormal reaction to the cold. Blood vessels in the body usually get narrower when the body is cold (Vasoconstriction) and get wider when the body is warmer (Vasodilation). If this happens too quickly the blood vessels cannot cope with the increase in blood flow and this causes leaking into the surrounding tissues which causes the itchiness and swelling associated with chilblains.

Complications can occur with chilblains if they are not managed correctly, which can lead to infections, ulcerations or permanent scarring of the skin. It is important you look after your feet and seek medical advice from a Podiatrist when required to help prevent these complications. Do not delay, book an appointment with us today!

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Up to as many as 1 in 10

people suffer with chilblains

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