Chilblains is a condition in which small blood vessels in your skin become painfully inflamed and irritated after repeated exposure to cold temperatures. The condition does not occur in locations where the temperature drops below freezing for long periods, but only in areas that experience more mild winter weather.
Chilblains can become a major problem for sufferers, causing red splotches on the skin with severe itching, swelling, and blistering.
Signs and symptoms of chilblains may include the following:
- Red, inflamed, and itchy blotches on the skin, particularly in the hands and feet
- Skin color shifting from red to a darker blue when a chilblain attack occurs
- Blisters or small wounds will often appear in the area
- It could feel like your skin is burning
Some risk factors that increase your chances of developing chilblains include the following:
- Where you live—In areas of higher humidity where the temperatures are low but not freezing, the condition is more likely to occur.
- Being female—Adult females are more likely to develop this condition when compared with males and children of both sexes.
- System-wide diseases—Diabetes and any condition that causes poor blood circulation can also increase the likelihood of developing chilblains.
- Skin tight clothing—has been shown to contribute to chilblains, especially in a cold and damp location
While chilblains on your feet will probably resolve after the cold weather subsides, you should see your podiatrist if you have any concerns. Podiatrists can use specialized diagnostic tests and expertise in foot and ankle care to help you reduce your pain and improve your foot health. Your Next Step provides high-quality care from our team of board-certified podiatrists, Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen to patients in the greater Philadelphia area. Contact our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, Woodlyn, and Downingtown, PA for more information or to schedule an appointment.