The Burning Pain of Chilblains
Chilblains occur when the tiny veins called capillaries in your skin become irritated and inflamed after repeat exposure to cold, winter air. Often referred to as pernio, this condition causes red spots and blotches, severe itching, a burning sensation, and swelling and blistering on the hands and feet. Once you develop the condition of chilblains, they often become chronic and occur over a period of many years in correlation with cold weather. The best way to prevent the scourge of chilblains is to try avoiding getting the condition in the first place by dressing warmly and keeping exposed skin covered from exposure to the cold.
Signs and Symptoms of Chilblains include:
- Itching—Small, red, itchy areas on your hands and feet
- Skin color changes—Skin color can change from red to a dark blue with a pronounced increase in pain
- Burning feeling—A sensation of burning on the skin of the feet
- Wounds and blisters—This condition is often accompanied by blisters and small ulcers
Risk Factors for acquiring Chilblains include:
- Geography—People living in areas of high humidity and cold temperatures (but not freezing) are more likely to get chilblains. Chilblains are less likely to occur for people who live in areas where the temperature frequently drops below freezing.
- Tight shoes and clothing—Wearing tight fitting shoes and clothing, especially in a cold, damp environment, can increase the occurrences of chilblains.
- Gender—Women are more prone to developing chilblains, more so than men or kids.
- Circulation—Poor blood circulation can make you more sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
- Raynaud’s disease—is often a precursor to developing chilblains.
When the weather gets warmer, chilblains often get better on their own. However, if the pain persists or if you don’t notice any improvement after two or three weeks, you should check with your doctor to eliminate any other possible causes. If you have diabetes, you need to be especially watchful for skin wounds and blistering since they may develop into infections leading to possible amputation.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from chilblains on your feet, consult with our board certified podiatrists at Foot and Ankle Center of Fort Lee, LLC. The center offers convenient locations in Fort Lee NJ, Ringwood NJ, Flushing Queens NY, Woodhaven NY, Brooklyn NY, and Forest Hills NY. Contact us at (201) 363-9844 and schedule an appointment today!