What is Chilbains?
Chilbains, also known as pernio, is when the tiny blood vessels in the skin become painful with inflammation due to exposure to cold temperatures. Itching, redness, swelling, and blistering can also be observed with this condition.
What are the symptoms of chilbains?
Small itchy red area on your feet by the toes. Blisters may from on the skin as well. Swelling of the skin with pain can occur. Burning of the affected skin is sometimes present. Changes in color of the skin from red to dark blue with pain can also be occurring with all the other symptoms.
What causes chilblains?
The exact cause is unknown but it is believed to be related to poor circulation with regards to the tiny vessels in the skin of the toes an surrounding skin.
How is it diagnosed?
The doctor will perform a thorough history and physical for the patient and will also perform a skin biopsy if other disorders are suspected. Essentially the clinical judgment of the disorder is what the diagnosis is based on.
How to treat chilblains?
Chilbains can be treated by simply avoiding exposure to cold temperatures. If one preemptively wears warmer socks or several layers to combat the cold then the symptoms may be non-existent. Also, a topical steroid may be prescribed to decrease the inflammation of the skin and calm the area down. Nifedipine, which is a calcium channel blocker for high blood pressure, may also be used to cause vasodilation of the blood vessels. Vasodilation means the blood vessels become larger in diameter so that more blood can be sent to the areas suffering from chilbains.