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Chilblains are small itchy, red swellings on the skin, which can become increasingly painful. They can swell and dry out leaving cracks in the skin which expose the foot to the risk of infection.


What causes the problem?

Tiny blood vessels under the skin constrict under cold conditions. This reduces the flow of blood until the area warms up again and causes some leakage of fluid into the surrounding tissue. Chilblains are caused by the skin’s abnormal reaction to cold. But, not everyone develops them as it depends largely on the efficiency of your circulation.

Who gets it?

Those affected are mainly affect 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.

How do I know if I have it?

During the onset of winter, susceptible people will experience burning and itching on their hands and feet. Upon entering a warm room, the itching and burning is intensified. There may also be some swelling or redness. In extreme cases, the surface of the skin may break and sores may develop.

How do I prevent it?

The best way to prevent chilblains is to keep your legs, feet and body warm. Your whole body, rather than just the feet, needs to be kept warm. Trousers, long boots, tights, leg warmers, long socks and gloves will also help.

What are the treatments?

No not scratch chilblains, instead use soothing lotions such as witch hazel and calamine to take away most of the discomfort. If the chilblain has ulcerated, apply an antiseptic dressing. If the chilblain has not broken, you can paint them with a mixture of friar’s balsam and a weak solution of iodine. Your pharmacist can make up for you or an over-the-counter preparation. At night, rub some lanolin ointment well into the feet to help retain the heat.

AA Podiatry offer specialist treatment options to customers suffering from chilblains in Glasgow.


We also offer Gift Vouchers which can be given to your love ones on special occasions such as Mothers Day, Birthdays or as a  Christmas Gift.

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