Archive for November, 2020


What is a Chilblain?

Erythema pernio, also known as perniosis or chilblain, is a lesion located on the surface of the skin that usually arises after being in contact with cold or humid environments for a long time.


What causes it?

The main cause of chilblains on the feet is exposure to cold. Experts affirm that they can appear after having an abnormal response of our body to low temperatures, combined with poor regulation of the blood flow to our skin.

After being exposed to the cold, if we put our feet or hands close to intense heat, this painful inflammation occurs which causes the blood vessels in our skin to expand, causing Chilblains. This can happen to your hands, ears, and nose as well as your feet.

It should be noted that there are certain groups of people who, due to their physiological characteristics, are more vulnerable, such as children, women, and the elderly, but there are also various factors that increase the risk of chilblains, including:

1. Sex and weight

Women are more likely to get chilblains than children and men, as are people who are underweight.

2. Poor blood circulation

Those who have poor circulation are more sensitive to changes in temperature so it is more likely that they may have this injury.

3. Alterations in the connective tissue

One risk factor is connective tissue disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, or cryoglobulinemia.

4. Reynaud’s disease

Raynaud’s disease is a disorder of the blood vessels, which narrow when the person feels cold or stress, and affects the toes and fingers. People with this problem are more likely to get chilblains.


Symptoms of Chilblains

  • Reddened and well-defined patches on the skin of the feet
  • Appearance of blisters
  • Itching and burning sensation in the affected area
  • Pain and swelling in that part of the feet
  • Color changes, from red to dark blue, in the painful area
  • In most severe cases it can become an ulcer.


Prevention of Chilblains

  • Use on waterproof footwear to avoid the rain or snow contact with our feet
  • Wear suitable insulating clothing such as cotton or wool socks
  • Do physical exercise regularly
  • Follow a diet rich in foods with vitamins A, C and D
  • Apply specific moisturizers
  • Reduce prolonged exposure to cold or very humid environments
  • Avoid wearing clothes that expose the skin to cold
  • Try not to wear ballet flats, very thin socks, or go out without socks
  • Avoid tobacco, as nicotine amplifies the vasoconstrictor response to cold
  • Do not put your hands or feet directly to sources of heat such as a radiator as sudden changes in temperature increase the risk of Chilblains


Treatment for Chilblains

In addition to taking the relevant precautions mentioned above, you’ll need to have a clear diagnosis first so we recommend you visit a Podiatrist or a vascular doctor if it mainly affects your feet as they can accurately diagnose and recommend the appropriate treatment for you.


If you’d like to book in to see one of our Podiatrists, please do so by calling 01380 730473 or book online here

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A Journey To Recovery

Hearing success stories from our patients about how we were able to help them positively impact and change their lives is why we do what we do.

Thank you so much to one of our wonderful patients for sharing their story…

I attended 5 sessions of your Rehab Clinic in August. For years I had suffered a lot of pain in my lower back, particularly at night, which meant I had trouble sleeping. I thought my scoliosis was to blame and had visited the Scoliosis Clinic.  I had also had treatment from an osteopath and had of course spoken to my doctor. My doctor advised that I should not be scared of using paracetamol when the nights were really bad. For two years I have kept a pain diary, recording the nights I was unable to sleep on my side because of the pain, and the nights when I had to take painkillers.

You told me I had weak glutes and I was given exercises to deal with this in your Rehab Clinic. I have done these exercises daily since then. There was no discernable improvement at first but over time there has been an astonishing improvement. I no longer dread going to bed as I am now able to sleep on both sides at night and get a good night’s sleep. I no longer have the sensation of having broken my lower back when I am tired.  I have given up keeping my pain diary, as I have no more bad nights to record.

I find it quite astonishing that a muscle can get so weak when I need a really active life. I have done core exercises daily for the last 3 years, yet this did nothing to tone up my glutes. I wish I had thought to go to a physiotherapist earlier.  I am also glad that I opted for the 5 Rehab sessions, where I had individual treatment. My daughter had recommended them as they had helped her with her running.

Thank you so much for your help. I feel like a new woman!

We absolutely love hearing about our patient’s journeys with us. If you’d like to share yours, please do share! Also if you’re experiencing pain then our team are here to help. Click here to book an appointment. 

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