Chilblains, also known as perniosis, are a common and often painful condition that affects the feet and toes. They are caused by a reaction to cold temperatures, resulting in the small blood vessels in the skin becoming inflamed and damaged. This can lead to swelling, redness, and itching of the affected area, as well as blistering and ulceration in severe cases. This is one of those conditions where prevention is the best cure so here are 5 ways to help with chilblains at home and provide relief from the discomfort and pain they can cause:
- Use over-the-counter pain medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help to reduce swelling and provide relief from pain.
- Apply warm compresses to the affected area: These can help to improve circulation and reduce swelling. Be careful not to apply heat directly to the skin (eg. by toasting them in front of the fire), as this can cause further damage.
- Avoid exposure to cold temperatures: Chilblains are often caused by exposure to cold temperatures, so it’s important to avoid prolonged exposure to the cold if you are at risk of developing chilblains.
- Wear warm and protective footwear: This can help to prevent the development of chilblains by keeping the feet warm and insulated. Avoid wearing tight or constricting shoes, as this can impair circulation. Try to keep your legs warm as that will help to keep the blood warm as it travels into your feet.
- Keep the feet dry and well-insulated: Moisture can worsen chilblains, so it’s important to keep the feet dry and well-insulated. This can help to prevent the development of chilblains and promote healing.
At our clinic, we offer specialised treatments to help heal chilblains and prevent them from returning. Our treatments are designed to reduce inflammation and promote healing, providing you with relief from the discomfort and pain of chilblains. We may recommend the use of corticosteroid creams or rubefacient ointments, as well as other medications to help manage symptoms and promote healing.
There are some additional treatment options that we provide at our clinic to help manage the symptoms of chilblains and improve healing. These include:
- Warm wax therapy: paraffin wax heat therapy increases blood flow, tolerance for pain, relaxes muscles & increases hydration in the skin.
- Plastazote insoles: this special lightweight material provides insulation from the ground
- Protective foam toe & foot covers: these can be made to individually fit your toes and feet so that they provide insulation and protection.
- Cushioned sterile dressings: which help prevent infection and encourage speedy healing.
- Redistributive padding: to offload pressure from painful chilblains.
- High intensity laser therapy: this advanced treatment speeds up healing and reduces pain.
In conclusion, chilblains are a common and often painful condition that affects the feet and toes. Treatment typically involves managing symptoms and preventing further exposure to cold temperatures. Good Podiatrists can provide more specific treatments and recommendations to help heal the chilblains and prevent them from returning. By seeking treatment early, you can prevent complications and keep your feet healthy and pain-free.
Much of this advice applies to other circulatory problems as well such as Raynaud’s, and peripheral vascular disease which can occur with diabetes. So make an early appointment for help by calling 01926 811272, or visiting www.healthfirstsoutham.co.uk/book-appointment
Jonathan Small, Lead Podiatrist, Health First Foot & Gait Clinic
“I have had ongoing pain for years without knowing the cause. Other podiatrists were unable to give me a diagnosis. Mr Small quickly discovered the problem and recommended different treatment options. The staff were all very friendly, I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a reliable and well qualified podiatrist.” M.H., Kineton