The dreaded chilblains

Do you suffer from cold painful toes during winter?

Do you suffer from chillblains. What are they?

Damage to tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in the skin, as a result of exposure to the cold and damp. Damage to the capillaries can result in redness, itchiness, swelling, blistering and inflammation.

Areas that are often affected are the toes and fingers, as well as the nose and ears. People that are most likely affected are the elderly, people with medical conditions, as well as teens.

What is the cause?

Generally, a combination of poor circulation and cold weather may lead to chilblains. Certain cells in the body can shut off the circulation of blood to a particular area of the body. These cells are activated by extreme changes in temperature. Rapid changes in skin temperature from really cold to suddenly warm, activates the control cells, and as a result, blood flow to the areas of the skin that are cold reduces, which causes the chilblains.

What are the signs and symptoms of chilblains?

  • Burning and itching sensation on feet, hands, nose, or ears

  • Skin of the affected area may change colour from red to dark blue

  • Swelling of the affected areas

  • Sores and blisters may appear (not often)

How do you treat chilblains?

Treatment depends on how severely affected the toes are. It is best to see your podiatrist regarding treatment.

How to prevent Chilblains?

  • Wear warm clothing such as socks and gloves, hats and scarves to keep your body warm when you’re outside in cold temperatures.

  • Do not warm your extremities rapidly with hot water bottles and radiant heat. Warm your body gradually.

  • Wear correct fitting shoes that cover your toes in the cold weather.

  • Exercise regularly to increase circulation.

  • Stop smoking to avoid the narrowing of blood vessels.

  • Avoid big fluctuations in temperature such as getting out of a warm bed in the night and walking on cold tiles barefoot to go to the bathroom. Slip into your slippers first.

Vronika enjoys all aspects of podiatry and loves working closely with all her clients to help them achieve their goals. Vronika enjoys providing podiatry treatment for all ages, from children to the elderly. She has a strong interest in managing musculosketal conditions and sports injuries and has extensive experience in diabetes care for the feet.

Vronika is available for appointments on Mondays & alternating Wednesdays and Fridays. To book an appointment with Vronika simply call the clinic on 9372 8091 or online at

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