Chilblains vs. Raynaud’s Disease

by | Jan 30, 2017 | General Foot Care

Chilblains vs Raynaud’s Disease

Winter weather is difficult to escape, especially in Western Montana. Many Montanans embrace the winter weather participating in winter sports throughout the season. Whether you are out on the slopes or Nordic trail, snowmobiling, hunting, or driving to work, it is hard to escape the cold. Cold temperatures play a major factor behind conditions that may present in the lower extremity, such as Raynaud’s disease and chilblains.

Raynaud’s syndrome is a condition typically affecting the fingers and toes. It is caused by a vasospasm of the small arteries induced by cold temperatures and/or stress. The presentation may vary depending on the severity of the condition as well as length of cold exposure.

Signs and symptoms

  • Fingers and toes turn white, blue, or red.
  • Numbness and/or cold digits.

Chilblains, also known as pernio, is a skin condition that develops from recurrent exposure to cold. The skin issues are usually red and swollen that may blister or even ulcerate. Typically this condition occurs in cold climates with high humidity.

Signs and symptoms

  • Itching.
  • Bumps on skin.
  • Red-violet colored patches in the hands and feet.
  • Wounds or blisters on the tips of the digits.

Treatment between the two may differ, however they both start with prevention: the key here is to avoid cold exposure as much as possible, and if there is exposure to the cold, wear appropriate socks, shoes, and boots.  An emphasis should also be placed upon keeping the feet dry.  Additionally, if open wounds or blisters develop, local wound care may be necessary to assist with healing.  Keep in mind that smoking and caffeine can cause constriction of the tiny vessels in the toes, thus aggravating and amplifying the symptoms.

The cold Montana winters can cause pain and discomfort due to the aforementioned conditions.  If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms (which are quite prevalent this time of the year), please contact us-we can help.  721-4007 or