Health and Fitness

What is the most effective way to treat chilblains?

Chilblains are a very frequent problem on the feet in cooler environments. They are nearly unknown in the warmer and tropical environments. They are a painful reaction of the blood circulation in the toes after the feet are cold and is warmed up too rapidly. Due to this issue with the blood circulation not responding, there is an inflammatory reaction resulting in small red and itchy lesions on the toes. As the problem becomes more persistent the skin takes on a painful dark discolouration as the harmful toxins increase.
The most effective treatment of chilblains is preventing them. Initially, use good socks and footwear so that the feet do not get too cool. In the event that the foot does become cold don’t stick it in from of the heat source so that it warms up too fast. The feet must be able to warm up slowly so the circulation has time to adjust to the changes in temperature. Once a chilblain does develop it needs to be protected so that it can heal up, particularly if the skin is broken. Keep it covered to shield it from trauma from the footwear. Soothing chilblain creams may be used to promote the blood circulation and help remove the harmful toxins which have accumulated in the skin that are causing the inflammation and irritation. Care must also be taken to protect against more chilblains developing, so the techniques that needs to be used to protect against them must be used even more. It is possible to get another one before the first one has healed up transforming this into a chronic problem. If the local measures to look after the chilblains do not help, there are some medicines a doctor can recommend that can be used to open up the blood circulation. The drugs are not specific to the feet and work everywhere, so may be restricted to the more serious conditions. In the very worst chilblains, it is not unusual that they can be given advice to move and live in warmer climates.

Doug Parks