Everyone has experienced cold feet. The winter is prime time for this occurrence and it can be quite uncomfortable. We layer up, stay indoors, and sometimes use heat packs to prevent the chill. What happens if your feet get cold even in the summer AC. They start aching, burning, and swelling. You have no idea how to keep them warm and why they hurt so much. They look a little red and blotchy and you are nervous. Should you call a podiatrist? Yes! You could have chilblains.

Chilblains, also known as Perino, chill burns, and Perniosis is a condition when an individual is exposed to cold and humidity for too long. This exposure slowly causes damage to the tissue in the foot. This condition is often confused with frostbite and trench foot due to its similar symptoms. 

Symptoms of Chilblains

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Damage to capillary beds in the skin
  • Dermatitis
  • Ulcers
  • Pain

Ulcers and extreme pain only occur in severe cases of chilblains that have not been caught and treated in time. Although it is rare, it is important to call a podiatrist such as Dr. James C. Ricketti or Dr. Stephen J. Skokan, right away if any of the symptoms occur after exposure to the cold.

These symptoms can be reduced by keeping the feet warm in cold weather and by avoiding extreme temperature changes. 

In general, chilblains can be spontaneous and unrelated to other underlying conditions. However, it can also be due to some serious medical conditions. James C. Ricketti, DPM, located in Hamilton Square, New Jersey, can help you determine whether an underlying cause is provoking your chilblains.


When you suffer from chilblains, it is important to keep your feet warm at all times. Wear warm shoes and socks at all times. Merino wool tends to be warm and dry, so try to find this type of sock to help your feet.  Avoid tight fitting shoes and socks. Place cotton and wool between your toes to help to improve circulation and also to keep your feet warm. If you choose to soak your feet in water and Epsom salt, be sure not to use water that is too hot, as it will exacerbate the problem.

If you think you might have chilblains, it is important to act immediately. Waiting to treat the condition can cause permanent damage to the foot and tissue death. Call 609-587-1674 or make an appointment online with Dr. Ricketti and Dr. Skokan today.

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