Chilblains are a very frequent condition in the colder climates, most often affecting the feet however once in a while affecting the hands and even the nose and ears occasionally. The typical symptom is a red-colored and itchy spot that occurs on the toes. If it gets to be more chronic then a deeper blue type patch happens as waste product build up in the skin. They tend to impact females much more than males and they happen at virtually any age.
Chilblains are not really due to the cold. They’re the result of a too quick warming up of the foot after it has become cold. When we are subjected to cold, the arteries contract to help the body conserve warmth. When are warm, the blood vessels open up to help dissipate heat. What happens in a chilblain is that following the capillaries have contracted as a result of the cold, they continue to be closed on warming. What this means is that the metabolic demand of the skin is not met by the restricted blood flow, so waste products build up in the skin causing an inflammatory response. At some point the capillaries do open up and when they do, it does tend to happen rapidly bringing about the red inflammatory response. Chilblains supposedly heal up in a short time, however, this inflammatory process develops on an on a regular basis basis in the colder temperatures resulting in a persistent condition.
The best treatment for chilblains is to not get them to start with. Keep the toes warm in order that they don’t become cold and the blood vessels do not need to contract. If the toes do get cold, then it is vital that they be allowed to warm up slowly so the capillaries have time to open up and keep pace with the demands for circulation from the tissues. If a chilblain does occur then there are a number of products that can be applied to help facilitate the blood flow and remove the waste material. Prevention is the next step so that it does not happen again the next time the feet becomes cold and it turns into a long-term condition. If you have an issue with chilblains, then consult an podiatrist for guidance and treatment.