Have you ever experienced small, itchy, red swellings on your toes or fingers during cold weather? If so, you might have chilblains. Chilblains are caused by the skin’s abnormal reaction to cold, and people with poor circulation in the feet are more susceptible. They occur on the extremities – the fingers, toes, face and ear lobes. If left untreated, chilblains can become increasingly painful, swell and dry out, leaving cracks in the skin, exposing the foot to the risk of infection.
Symptoms and Causes
Chilblains are characterized by small itchy, red swellings on the skin, which can be painful and uncomfortable. Symptoms include burning and itching, swelling or redness, breaks in the skin, and ulcers. The main cause of chilblains is exposure to cold air. The cold constricts the blood vessels in the skin, and when the skin warms up again, the blood vessels dilate, resulting in fluid leaking into the surrounding tissues.
If you suspect that you have chilblains, it is important to keep the body, legs, and feet warm, especially for individuals who have poor circulation and/or limited mobility. You should avoid extreme temperatures that can cause your feet to become too cold or too hot. Try to wear warm socks, gloves, and shoes when you go out. Calamine lotion is recommended to relieve the itchiness and discomfort. If chilblains become ulcerated or if there is any broken skin, it is important to see a doctor. Application of an antiseptic dressing is essential to prevent infection.
Who to See
If you are experiencing chilblains, it is important to see a healthcare professional for proper treatment. Dr. Gilbert Huang DPM is a podiatrist who specializes in treating foot and ankle conditions. He can help to diagnose and treat chilblains, as well as other foot and ankle problems. He can also provide advice on how to prevent chilblains from occurring in the future.
If you are experiencing chilblains, it is important to take precautions to prevent them from getting worse. Keep your feet and hands warm, and avoid extreme temperatures. If the condition persists, seek medical attention from Dr. Gilbert Huang DPM. With proper treatment and care, you can relieve the symptoms of chilblains and prevent further complications.