How to cure chilblains
How to cure chilblains
There are loads of things you can do to help yourself if you have chilblains and ways to try and prevent them getting worse. Read on for more information…
What are chilblains?
Chilblains are a common ailment where small, itchy swellings form on your skin in response to cold temperatures. You can’t really cure them, and sometimes they don’t go away by themselves. This article describes the best ways to treat them if they become persistent, or turn into something worse.
What causes chilblains?
Chilblains are caused by the cold, when your small blood vessels in the skin become inflamed. This causes swelling and itching which is very unpleasant.
If you have ever suffered with chilblains, you’ll know how uncomfortable they can be. It usually starts with itching on one part of your skin where it’s become cold and then within a few hours you may get discolouration and swelling.
Chilblains can affect anyone who gets cold easily, including young children and the elderly, but they’re more common in women than men. Your environment can also contribute, for example spending time standing on concrete or stone floors at work or if your feet get damp and cold. They can be common in runners, walkers or cyclists over the winter months too.
Sometimes they form into blisters and may be filled with fluid which can look like pus.
Depending on your skin tone and circulation, chilblains may look red, purple, blue or yellow/white in colour.
How can I treat them?
The best way to treat chilblains is by preventing them in the first place. This generally means avoiding extremes of temperature and avoiding letting your toes or extremities get cold or damp.
if you develop chilblains, there are ways you can help yourself at home. Remember that some self-help techniques go a long way to relieving your symptoms, while others may be more harmful than good so always consult a podiatrist first if you’re not sure what to do.
How can I help myself at home?
At the first sign of chilblains you should shield your skin from further cold exposure. If they’re very painful, try soaking them in warm (NOT HOT) water for 5 minutes before drying, then covering with a protective layer like vaseline or an emollient (moisturising cream). A nice trick is to slightly warm up 2 pairs of socks with a hair dryer and then put both on. This can really help to make those toes nice and cosy.
If you get cold, don’t try and warm your extremities up too quickly as this can cause pain.
If the skin splits or blisters, you need to treat these and keep them clean to avoid infection. A podiatrist can help with this.
You may need to take more specific precautions if your chilblains keep coming back, such as insulating insoles or medication. It is also important to get your circulation checked by a podiatrist too and if you are a smoker suffering with chilblains, we strongly recommend seeing your GP for help with quitting smoking.
Keep warm and keep on your feet,
The Podipedia Team