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Cold feet cause many people to suffer in the winter, but not all of them develop chilblains. Whether they do or not depends to a large extent on the efficiency of your circulation.
Chilblains are small, itchy, red swellings on the skin, which can become increasingly painful. They can also swell and then dry out leaving cracks in the skin, which expose the foot to the risk of infection. They occur on the toes, particularly the smaller ones, but can also occur on other areas of the feet exposed to pressure.
Chilblains are caused by the skins abnormal reaction to the cold and normally occur when chilled skin is warmed too quickly. Damp or draughty conditions, dietary factors and hormonal imbalance can also cause or aggravate chilblains.
This condition mainly affects young adults working outdoors in cold places or people who do not wear socks or tights in winter. Elderly people, whose circulation is less efficient than it used to be, people who don’t take enough exercise, and those suffering from anaemia, are also susceptible.
What can be done?
Keep your body, feet and legs warm at a regular temperature, especially if your circulation is poor and your mobility is limited. Keeping the whole body warm by wearing trousers, long boots, tights or leg warmers is also a good idea. Follow a regular foot health routine, wash your feet each day in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes. Then apply moisturising cream to prevent painful cracked skin.
Try using our Double Cushion or Lambswool insoles to make shoes and feet more comfortable and provide insulation from cold/frozen ground. If chilblains do occur, use Profoot’s Toe Protector or Corn Wrap to protect tender areas and moisturise dry skin.