Chilblains Are An Abnormal Response To Cold And May Indicate Poor Circulation In Your Toes

Chilblains are red, purple, and white discolorations on the skin that can be painful and itchy. If you have problems with cold feet and discolorations that look similar to bruises or blisters, have your feet checked by a podiatrist. A podiatrist can provide treatments and teach you ways to reduce your risk of having the problem come back. Here are a few things to know about chilblains and how they affect your feet.

Chilblains Are Your Body's Response To Cold

You can get chilblains on your nose and fingers too, but they are common on the toes and feet. Chilblains are triggered by exposure to cold temperatures, and you're at a higher risk of developing this condition if you have a circulation problem, have family members with a history of chilblains, or have a medical condition such as diabetes or an autoimmune disorder.

Chilblains Can Lead To Infections

Chilblains heal gradually, although it may take several days to a few weeks. In some cases, the skin cracks and an infection sets in. If you have a medical condition that impairs your circulation or nerve sensation, an infection can be serious and should be treated by a podiatrist. An ulcer may develop and be slow to heal due to reduced blood flow to the toes.

Your Podiatrist Might Prescribe Medication

If your toes are swollen and itchy, your podiatrist might prescribe topical corticosteroids. You might need antibiotics if an infection develops. If you have a medical condition, the podiatrist might work with your regular doctor to begin or adjust medication that increases peripheral circulation so your toes can heal faster and reduce the risk of complications.

Keeping Your Toes Warm Is Important

You don't necessarily have to be outdoors in cold weather to get chilblains. The condition can also develop from sitting in a room with air conditioning. Your podiatrist may advise you to wear socks all the time, even when you're sleeping so your feet stay warm. If your toes get too cold, warming them gradually may be best since quickly going from hot to cold can trigger the development of chilblains or make the condition worse.

Since chilblains are associated with cold feet and poor circulation, they could be the first sign of a medical problem you need to have diagnosed. If you have cold feet, it's good to let your doctor or podiatrist know so you can find the cause, and if there's a medical reason, you can get treatment early.

For more information, contact a local podiatrist today.