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What are chilblains and what can be done about them?

Chilblains are a very common problem on the foot in colder climates. They are nearly unheard of in hotter environments. They are a painful reaction of the circulation in the toes after the feet are cold and are heated up too fast. Due to this problem with the blood circulation not responding, there's an inflamation related reaction leading to small reddish and itchy lesions on the toes. If the problem becomes more chronic the skin takes on a painful dark discolouration because waste products develop.

The most effective management of chilblains is prevention. Firstly, wear good hosiery and shoes so that the feet do not get too cold. If the foot does get cold don't stick it in from of a heat source so that it warms up too fast. The feet must be allowed to warm up gradually so the blood circulation has time to adapt to the alterations in temperature. Once a chilblain does develop it must be protected in order that it can get better, especially if the skin is broken. Keep it covered to shield it from trauma from the shoe. Soothing chilblain creams may be used to stimulate the blood circulation and help eliminate the harmful toxins which have accumulated in the skin that are causing the inflammation and congestion. Care should also be taken to prevent further chilblains developing, so the methods that needs to be used to protect against them should be used even more. It is easy to develop another one before the first one has healed up transforming this into a chronic problem. If the local measures to look after the chilblains don't help, there are some drugs a doctor may prescribe which you can use to open up the blood circulation. The medicine is not specific to the foot and work everywhere, so may be reserved for the more severe conditions. In the very worst cases, it is not uncommon that they be given advice to move and live in warmer climates.