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Chilblains occur when the skin reacts abnormally to cold temperatures. They are generally more common in people with poorer circulation. Extreme changes in temperature can also increase the risk of this problem [1]. Some medical conditions, such as lupus and scleroderma, can also increase the risk of chilblains [2].

What causes it?

Chilblains are small, itchy swellings or lumps on the skin [1].

What is it?

Chillblain of the little toe, skin is close to breaching from the swelling

What are the symptoms?

What podiatry treatments are available?

You will usually experience painful, burning and itching skin. Sometimes the chilblain can break down (ulcerate) and form an open sore, increasing the risk of infection [1].

  • Lotions and dressings – our podiatrist can advise on the best soothing lotions to apply to your chilblains, and will apply an antiseptic dressing to any chilblains that have broken down.

  • Padding – we may use special padding to protect your chilblains.

  • General foot care advice – we will advise on how to prevent chilblains and improve circulation.

  • Footwear assessment – your footwear will be assessed and footwear advice will be provided if necessary, to ensure pressure from your shoes does not worsen your chilblains or contribute to ulceration.


1.     McIntosh, I. (2015) Chilblains – a pernicious affliction. Podiatry Review, 72(1): 6.

2.     Cherry, L., Alcacer-Pitarch, B., Hopkinson, N, et al. (2017) The prevalence of self­reported lower limb and foot health problems experienced by participants with systemic lupus erythematosus: Results of a UK national survey. Lupus, 26 (4).

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