My Truths #140 (chilblains)

by Stephanie

Chilblains have a similar underlying cause to Raynauds (See My Truths #139) but are much worse! In the winter I get the occasional attack of chilblains. These are small, itchy and painful reddish blue swellings which develop on my toes when my skin gets cold, causing the tiny blood vessels to constrict severely (chilblains can affect fingers as well but I, luckily, I have escaped that scourge). Because of the poor blood supply, chilblains sometimes don’t heal very quickly and can become infected. 

My chilblains are aggravated by wearing boots that fit snugly  are not lined and/or have high heels. My fall fashion boots quickly cause me swollen, red and itchy toes when the weather turns cold. Before I understood what was happening, when my toes got cold, I would warm them with hot water or put them next to a warm fire but this just aggravates the condition. It’s best to warm them gradually. The key to prevention and cure is warm, roomy, waterproof, lined boots and thick warm socks. I usually experience chilblains at least once early every winter. Once chilblains hit they can take several weeks to clear up but, provided I wear sensible winter boots, I can usually avoid another flare up. 


Don’t warm your toes next to a fire like a caveman might do…you risk getting chilblains.