May 24, 2021



The weather is changing, and cold mornings are upon us.  It is tempting to place our feet in front of a heater or use an electric blanket to warm them up.  These changes in extreme temperatures can lead to the formation of chilblains.  Chilblains present as red, itchy lumps on the toes that can burn and cause pain.  In extreme cases, chilblains can appear purple and ulcerate and breakdown.

Chilblains are the painful inflammation of capillaries (small blood vessels) in your skin in response to cold exposure.  Capillaries constrict in response to cold to conserve heat to the body.  When feet are warmed too quickly, this can lead to a rush of blood to the extremities and leakage of fluid and metabolites.  The leakage causes redness, irritation itching and pain.

Some people are more prone to chilblains than others.  Females, underweight people, people with Raynaud’s disease or an auto immune disorder are more at risk of chilblains.  To avoid chilblains, keep feet warm in the cold weather with wool or bamboo socks, wear closed in footwear and avoid direct heat on the feet when coming in from the cold.

Our Geelong podiatrists can determine chilblains from other dermatological (skin) conditions with a thorough history, examination and assessment.  If your toes are red and burning you may be experiencing symptoms of chilblains.   Make an appointment with our Geelong podiatrists to have a treatment plan tailored specifically to your needs.  Call us now 52430130 to book a consultation.