Mild form of cold injury characterised by recurrent, localised painful erythema related to exposure to cold.


4 stages:
• initial stage – often goes unnoticed
• due to vasoconstriction

2) Hyperaemic/erythematous stage
• painful, red, hot, burning, pruritic

3) Congestive/cyanotic stage
• swollen and cyanotic
• may resolve or ulcerate

4) Ulcerative stage
• ‘broken’ chilblain, especially if site of chilblain is ‘traumatised’

Chilblains appear to be part of cryoglobulinaemia and some forms of systemic lupus erythematosus

• Hyperaemic stage – use cool evaporating dressing (eg witch hazel)
• Congestive stage – need to stimulate circulation  use rubefacients, vasodilator creams, warm foot baths, gentle local massage
• Ulcerative – wound dressings

Minimise exposure to cold
Advice on keeping feet and legs warm (eg trousers, thick woollen socks, lined footwear); stop smoking

Related Topics:
Chilblain Lupus Erythematosus

External Links:
Chilblains threads (Podiatry Arena)

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