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Winter Is the Season for Chilblains

Chilblains occur in the feet and other extremities when the capillaries in your skin become inflamed after repeated exposure to cold but not quite freezing air. This condition is also called pernio and it causes red spots, itching, swelling and blisters on the hands and feet. When you get chilblains the first time, you are more likely to develop the condition in successive winters. Covering your skin and dressing warmly can help prevent getting chilblains.

Signs and symptoms of chilblains include the following:

  • Small, red, itchy patches on your hands and feet
  • Change in skin color from red to a darker blue, with a corresponding increase in pain
  • Burning and tingling on the skin
  • Swelling
  • Blisters or small wounds may be noticed

Risk factors for developing chilblains include:

  • Your geographical location—Living in areas of high humidity and cold temperatures that don’t quite get below freezing on regular basis is a major risk factor.
  • Tight- fitting shoes and clothing—Wearing these exacerbates chilblains, especially in a cold, damp environment
  • Females are more susceptible—to developing chilblains than kids and males
  • Having poor blood circulation— This can make your skin more sensitive to temperature fluctuations
  • Raynaud’s disease—Having this disease may precede developing chilblains

Chilblains often heal on their own when outdoor temperatures start to rise, but if the pain persists or if you don’t notice any improvement after a couple of weeks, you should make an appointment with your podiatrist.

At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, Dr. Russell Samofal treats a variety of conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, pediatric foot conditions, toe deformities, arthritis, nail fungus, arch problems and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Podiatry Center of New Jersey provides individualized high-quality care for patients all across Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Essex counties.

For all your foot and ankle problems, contact our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.