Given today is the coldest day of the year so far, I thought it was a good time to talk about Chilblains.

Chilblains Richmond Podiatry

Photograph Courtesy of Wikipedia

Chilblains present on the feet as patches of red, inflamed lumps on the skin that are often itchy or painful. Whilst you can get one chilblain at a time, it is more common to see several appear at once. Chilblains are caused by frequent and repeated exposure to cold then heat. This is because the blood vessels in the feet constrict (get smaller) in the cold and when exposed to heat very quickly, a rush of blood to the vessels can result blood leaking into the surrounding tissue causing a chilblain.


  • Red, swollen patches on the skin (these can even be blue or white in appearance)
  • Itchy sensation at the sight of the patches
  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Dry skin in the area
  • Blistering or ulceration in extreme cases


  • Parafin Wax baths can encourage better circulation to the feet and assist in healing the chilblains and preventing further chilblains developing. At Richmond Podiatry we have found this to be a most effective treatment
  • Whilst there are no creams to heal the chilblain Corticosteroid cream can be effective in reducing the itch

Who is most at Risk?

Chilblains can affect the heathy general population, however are more common in children and the elderly.

Patients with existing Circulation problems such as Diabetes and Raynaud’s Syndrome and smokers are most at risk.

Patients with Diabetes who develop Chilblains should see their podiatrist for treatment to ensure the Chilblain does not become ulcerated.

Tips to Avoid Chilblains

  • Stay Warm
  • Warm up gradually- avoid hot water bottles, electric blankets and direct exposure to a heat source
  • Avoid smoking