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853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
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By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
March 30, 2016
Tags: Diabetes   Chilblains  

It’s been a long, cold winter and if you are noticing small bumps on your toes that are red and itchy and cause your skin to burn, the season may be dealing you one final punch: chilblains. Also known as “cold feet,” chilblains are more than just not being able to warm up. It’s an inflammation of the small blood vessels in the skin of your toes. Patients we treat at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM, with chilblains on their toes are also likely to have them on other extremities of the body as well, including fingers, ear lobes and nose. In addition to the bumps, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Patches of red, itchy areas on your skin

  • Swelling of affected areas

  • Blisters or ulcers

  • Skin turning blue

  • Pain

  • Cracks in the skin

Treatment and Prevention

In some cases, using a topical corticosteroid cream, moisturizing the affected area and keeping it warm will be sufficient to alleviate the chilblains. Chilblains should go away within one to three weeks, especially if the weather warms up as well. If, however, your chilblains don’t clear up in that time or you notice signs of an infection developing: discharge from one of the sites, skin is hot to the touch—you should make an appointment to see our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker. The risk of infection is particularly dangerous if you have diabetes or another medical condition that involves problems with your circulatory or immune systems.

Once you’ve had chilblains you are more susceptible to getting them again in the future. You can help prevent chilblains by wearing loose layers when you will be out in the cold—tight clothing increases your chances for getting chilblains, limiting your exposure to the cold and not smoking (which decreases circulation).

If you have questions about chilblains or other conditions that affect your feet and toes, contact our Washington office by calling: (724) 225-7410.

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