July 26, 2012
-- The winter is not that far away and with it comes an increase in risk for a number of health problems. These include the usual respiratory problems. Some are not as serious as these problems, but can none-the-less be very annoying. One of the annoying ones are chilblains. These are a painful and itchy lesion that occurs mostly on the toes of the feet, but can affect the fingers and even the nose and ears. They usually start out as a red spot that is itchy, but then it turns into a dark color that is painful. They usually run a short self-limiting course, but tend to reoccur most days, so can become a chronic problem.
As the winter is just around the corner, what can be done about this problem? Craig Payne from Podiatry Arena (http://www.podiatry-
suggests that most people who get chilblains misunderstand what they are. He suggests that “they are not actually caused by the cold. The real problem is a too rapid warming of the foot that has got cold. This means that the first way to prevent them is not get cold and keep warm with the foot in thick hosiery and in shoes. Secondly, if the foot does get cold, then you need to make sure it warms up really slow. Do not put the cold foot in front of a heater. It is the two rapid warming of the cold foot that causes the muscle spasm in the very small muscles that surround the circulation. It is this reaction that is the cause of the chilblains.”
If a chilblain does occur, then the key to its management is to keep it warm and use gentle stimulation to the skin such as massage and protect the skin so that it does not break down. Payne suggest that they are not difficult to heal, but the problem is that another one can occur just as quickly as the first one the next day. If this is allowed to happen, then you are dealing with a chronic one. Prevention is better than that (http://www.epodiatry.com/chilblains.htm