Vascular/Nerve Problems - Chilblains (cold feet)

Chilblains are caused by the skin's abnormal reaction to cold and is another term for "cold feet." Your circulation is a determining factor. Those with poor circulation are more susceptible.

Chilblains are small itchy, red swellings on the skin, which can become increasingly painful, swell and then dry out, leaving cracks in the skin and exposing the foot to the risk of infection. They occur on the toes, particularly the smaller ones, fingers, the face, especially the nose, and the ear lobes. They can also occur on areas of the feet exposed to pressure, for instance, on a bunion or where the second toe is squeezed by tight shoes.

Symptoms include burning and itching, swelling or redness, breaks in the skin, and ulcers.

Treatment includes keeping your body, feet and legs warm, especially if your circulation is poor and your mobility is limited.

Calamine will take away most of the discomfort. Apply an antiseptic dressing if the chilblain has ulcerated.

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  • Paul Spiegl, MD, PC

    Paul Spiegl, MD, PC Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Foot & Ankle Specialist

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  • Daniel Nicholson, MD

    Daniel Nicholson, MD Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Sports Medicine

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  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
  • American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
  • American Medical Association (AMA)