Sorry, but we’re here to remind you that being locked down in the middle of winter is no excuse to neglect your foot health. On the contrary, the cold weather can give your feet quite a bit of grief if you’re not looking after them properly! Do you happen to have feet that are swollen, red, itchy, burning or bumpy? Even if your answer is “no”, you need to read this.
Chilblains are tender bumps that are red to purple-ish in colour and often itchy that form in response to the cold. They usually affect children, the elderly and people who are medically predisposed, ie people with poor circulation, low body weight, high cholesterol or certain disorders. If you’re older, you’ll often find that untreated chilblains worsen year by year.
The feet and lower legs are particularly vulnerable to chilblains, and as podiatrists we see these every winter. We understand the importance of treating them before they have a chance to become blisters, boils, scabs or ulcers. Without early intervention they can take weeks or occasionally even months to subside, and infection is more likely.
The good news is that there are ways to prevent chilblains from ever happening! Limiting your use of caffeine and nicotine is a good start. Consider this your permission slip to go outside and get some exercise, in order to keep up your foot temperature and circulation. It doesn’t have to be anything too intense, even just a walk can help. Make sure to wear thick socks and comfortable joggers that aren’t too tight, and a pair of gloves can also help protect your hands. Sun exposure can worsen chilblains, so make sure you protect vulnerable areas with clothing or sunscreen. Indoor exercise is also beneficial if you can’t or don’t want to leave your house. If your feet have already been exposed to the cold, gradual warming by soaking in warm (not hot) water is best for preventing chilblains.
If you suspect you have chilblains, or you’re having any other issues with your feet, book in to see one of our podiatrists. Podiatry is an essential service, so we are still open and seeing patients with COVID-safe measures in place. We can give you the right treatment plan and also recommend appropriate socks and shoes to help keep your feet warm, comfortable and protected this winter. Don’t delay, call 9542 3491 or book online with us today.
The Team From Sutherland Podiatry Centre