Do you have Chilblains?

Chilblains are small red lumps that form on the skin as a response to cold.  These patches of red, swollen and itchy skin are often worse with poor circulation. Those with diabetes are at a higher risk. The extremities are usually the worst affected areas, especially toes, fingers, nose and earlobes. The best form of treatment is prevention. Chilblains can be very painful and can lead to ulceration if not cared for correctly.

Top Tips to Avoid Chilblains

Chilblains are caused by cold weather, which makes them more of a winter concern than a summer one. While in Sydney we don’t experience the harsh extremes of the winter weather, many of you will be flying off to colder climes seeking snow, ice and generally colder conditions. So whether you’re staying put or going in search of the perfect skiing conditions here are our tips for keeping chilblains at bay.

Wear socks that adequately warm the feet in cold climates. If you are visiting snowy or icy conditions, ensure you wear moisture wicking sports socks that are made to keep your feet not only warm but dry as well. Carrying spare socks is also a great idea to ensure your feet can be kept warm and dry all day.
When your feet are cold warming them up quickly with a hot water bottle or by an open fire is great in theory however the rapid change in temperature actually exacerbates chilblains. The rapid change in temperature causes blood vessels to leak fluid into the surrounding tissues which leads to the painful swelling and red coloured lumps.
Some medication can cause the blood vessels to constrict, leading to chilblains.  If you have a pre existing history of chilblains taking medication which can restrict blood flow to the extremities can increase your risk of reoccurrence.
Make sure your shoes and socks aren’t too tight. If the feet are squished into shoes circulation will be affected.
Exercise is a great way to keep the circulation flowing and the blood vessels open. Regular activity will improve circulation and decrease risk of chilblains. Try writing the alphabet with your big toe when you’re sitting down watching tv!
Smoking constricts the blood vessels and can make chilblains a lot worse!

If you do think you’re at risk of chilblains or that you are starting to get symptomsParaffin wax baths are most successful in reducing swelling and resolving the pain.  A few treatments may be required depending on severity.  Please call The Forest Podiatry today to book your Paraffin wax treatment.

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