What are Chilblains? 

Chilblains, also known as “perniosis” is an inflammatory condition characterised by erythema (redness), and oedema (swelling), which is caused by exposure to cold, damp, but non-freezing conditions. Chilblains most commonly affects the feet, but also affects the hands, ears, and face. Chilblains is likely to be noticed, and to affect you, during winter months.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms that may be experienced with chilblains include:

  • Tenderness
  • Pruritis (itchiness)
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • A combination of any of these. *Some patients may also experience no symptoms while they have the condition.

Chilblains is primarily experienced by females with about 79% of those with the condition being female.

It is important to seek professional medical assistance if you suspect you have chilblains as this has also been shown to be associated with more serious medical conditions.

Treatment of Chilblains

Some simple ways to reduce symptoms of, or prevent chilblains include:

  • Always wearing covered shoes, especially during the colder months
  • Ensuring that your feet stay dry, especially during cold wet weather
  • Wearing comfortable, thick, warm socks will help insulate your feet from the cold.

Successful treatment of chilblains can often be achieved through conservative heat and drying techniques. Prevention of further complications can be achieved through proper education and understanding of chilblains and ways to reduce symptoms.