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Chilblains

What is it?

Chilblains represent an abnormal vascular reaction to the cold.  After exposure to the cold there is often rapid dilation of the constricted arterioles more than that of the venules leading to exudation of fluid in the tissues.  Chilblains can effect single or multiple digits.

What are the symptoms?

The reaction can vary with toes that may become red, itchy and sometimes painful.  Sometimes the reaction can be more severe leading to ulceration and necrosis.

What can you do at home?

Prevention is key.  Wear appropriate clothing and avoid the cold and damp.  Speak to your local pharmacy about topical agents such as menthol in aqueous cream.

When to seek help?

This depends on the level of severity and response to self treatment.

Speak to your General Practitioner or Podiatrist.

How is it treated?

It depends on the level of severity but it may include education and when appropriate medication to prevent constrictions of the blood vessels in the toes.

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