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What are Chilblains?

Chilblains occur when the capillaries in your skin become painfully inflamed after repeated exposure to cold air. Sometimes referred to as pernio, this condition causes red blotches, itching, swelling and blisters on the hands and feet. Once you develop chilblains, they may continue to occur over a period of years in conjunction with cold weather. The best way to avoid getting chilblains in the first place is to dress warmly and cover any exposed skin.

Signs and Symptoms

●Small, red, itchy areas on your hands and feet

●Skin color shifts from red to a darker blue with an increase in pain

●A sensation of burning on the skin


●Sometimes you will see blisters or ulcers

Risk Factors

Where you live. People living in areas of high humidity and cold—but not freezing—temperatures are more likely to get chilblains

Wearing tight fitting shoes and clothing, especially in a cold, damp environment

Women are prone to developing chilblains, more so than men or children

Poor blood circulation can make you more sensitive to temperature fluctuations

Raynaud’s disease may be a precursor to developing chilblains

When the weather gets warmer, chilblains often heals on its own. However, if the pain persists or if you don’t notice any improvement after a couple of weeks you should check with your doctor to eliminate other possibilities. If you have diabetes, you need to be especially watchful for the skin blistering that may develop into infections.

The podiatrists at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, in New York City, NY, have extensive clinical experience, and are experts in providing the best care for any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles. Sorelis Jimenez, DPM, John W. Fletcher, DPM, and Kamilla Danilova, DPM and the rest of the staff at Foot Health Podiatry, PLLC, are happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Check out our Ask The Doctor page for answers to frequently asked questions, and never hesitate to give us a call to talk or make an appointment at 212-845-9991.

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