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Avoiding and treating chilblains

Avoiding and Treating Chilblains during the cold weather

  • Avoid heating or warming your fingers and your toes
  • Follow our simple steps and you should be fine
  • Contact us for rapid treatment of painful or broken chilblains

We’re entering the Chilblain Time of year when the cold and damp combine to cause chilling injuries and painful nasty red/blue chilblains. Our team of podiatrists can use Low Level Laser Therapy to treat chilblains without pain or side effects, and usually only require one or two treatments, but as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure we’ve put together a list of some of our top tips to help you avoid problems until the Spring arrives.


  1. Don’t warm your hands or feet. It’s often the warming up of your skin after exposure to cold that causes the damage. Warm the room, have a hot drink (but don’t warm your fingers on the cup), change your shoes if you’ve come in from the cold.
  2. Put a hat on. Try thinking of your head, your hands and your feet as one single detector of cold. If any one of these points experiences cold, all of them will begin to withdraw blood to prevent heat loss. You can keep your feet warmer by putting on a hat, or gloves, even indoors.
  3. Turn your shoes upside down and put them on the radiator when you get in from the cold. The warm air will dry the inside of your shoes and make them feel warm when you put them on to go out. That’s a great way for them to start the day.
  4. Alternate your shoes each day. Even if don’t get wet due to rain, sleet or snow, our feet still sweat 24 hours a day and this will make the inside of our shoes damp. This slight dampness may not usually cause problems, but has a dramatic effect of drawing heat away from your skin. Try not to wear the same shoes for two or even three days running.
  5. Check for drafts at low level. Cold air at low level can trigger the feet to start the withdrawal of blood from the fingers and toes. You might need a draft excluder.
  6. Two pairs or thin socks are better than one pair of thick. The layers or thin socks trap air between them and will also glide over each other, which reduces friction on fragile skin.
  7. You can use hot water bottles to warm the end of the bed, but don’t leave it in the bed and rest your feet on.
  8. Have a small drink of something alcoholic if it’s safe and legal to do so. A small amount of alcohol can relax the blood vessels and increase blood flow to the skin.


Broken chilblains, where the skin has broken and ulcerated, require careful attention. If you have good general health and are happy to self care, just keep the areas affected dressed until healed and keep a very close eye out for any signs of deterioration. If you have diabetes, rheumatological problems, vascular problems or other underlying condition that may affect wound healing, please contact one of our team for an urgent appointment to treat without pain or side effects.


We’re open 7 days a week to treat urgent foot problems, so call us today if you need expert care.