Symptoms Of Red Toes In Winter: Causes And Treatment Options

Red Toes In Winter, Red Swollen Toes In Winter, Symptoms Of Red Toes In Winter, Causes Of Swollen Red Toes In Cold Weather, Treatment Options For Red Toes In Winter

The condition in which your toes become red and swollen in the winters is known as chilblains; the condition is characterized by painful inflammation of the small blood vessels in the skin which occurs due to very cold temperatures.

It is seen as red, itchy patches, swelling and blistering on the toes; occasionally, occurring on the fingers, nose and ears as well.

Chilblains tend to improve on their own, particularly as the weather gets warmer. The disorder clears up in about 2 to 3 weeks, but may recur seasonally. The treatment comprises of applications and medications. Chilblains usually do not result in any permanent impairment; however, they can lead to infections, which are known to trigger severe damage if neglected.

The most optimal way to manage red, swollen toes is to avoid developing them by restricting your exposure to cold, wearing socks, along with gloves and caps and dressing warmly.

Chilblains is typically seen as:

  • Tiny, itchy, red areas on the toes.
  • The toes may get swollen too.
  • There could be possible blistering.
  • Burning sensation on the sole of the foot.
  • The toes may even change color from red to dark blue.
  • Sometimes, chilblains can be very painful.
  • Possible ulceration.

Causes Of Swollen Red Toes In Cold Weather

The precise cause of chilblains is yet unknown. Experts say it is an abnormal response of the body to exposure to cold followed by sudden intense rewarming.

Rewarming of cold skin causes the small blood vessels under the skin to enlarge very rapidly as compared to the adjacent larger blood vessels thus resulting in a ‘bottleneck’ effect and the blood seeps in to the neighboring tissues. Consequently, the toes look swollen and red and sometimes painful.

Treatment Options For Red Toes In Winter

Treatment options for chilblains are:

  • Corticosteroids: A lot of doctors advise corticosteroid applications to relieve the redness, swelling and itching of chilblains.
  • Medicines: A blood pressure reducing medicine known as nifedipine is at times prescribed to treat severe chilblains, given that, it helps open up the blood vessels.
  • Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy essential oils are excellent to manage chilblains especially in children. Oils recommended are eucalyptus and benzoin. Add 3 to 5 drops of either oil in a big basin of warm water; these oils are warming and soothing, and they allay itching and redness associated with chilblains.
  • Infection prevention. In case the skin has broken, you need to ensure that infection does not set in; treatment includes cleaning and protecting the wounds and if necessary taking anti-biotic after consulting your doctor.
  • Avoiding exposure to cold whenever possible is essential.
  • Keep the affected skin warm, but not close to the source of heat.
  • Always keep the afflicted skin clean; use an anti-septic and bandage the area well in order to ward off infections.
  • Avoiding scratching
  • Vitamin D is sometimes used as a treatment option, but research says it isn’t very effective.
  • Always dress in warm layers of clothing; and make sure that you wrap up all exposed skin when going outside in cold weather.
  • Also, it is vital that you keep your home and workplace comfortably warm.
  • In case your skin does get exposed to cold, rewarm it very gradually, steer clear of sudden heating, since sudden rewarming of cold skin aggravates the condition.

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