Posts Tagged “circulation”

COVID Toes (chilblains)

Posted by | July 22, 2020 | Podiatry Issues

There have been lots of reports of chilblains in those with COVID-19, resulting in the use of the term COVID toes.

The actual reason for this is not totally clear as it could be:

  • it is part of the pathophysiology of the coronavirus infection. Chilblains are a problem with the way the small blood vessels react to cold, so the inflammatory process of the infection could affect the way the blood vessels react, causing the chilblain
  • the higher incidence of the chilblains may not be directly related to the COVID-19, but are due to lifestyle changes that happened during the lockdown and it was those lifestyle changes that predisposed to the chilblains.

It could be either one of these reasons or even both of them. The whole issue of chilblains and COVID toes was address in this episode of PodChatLive:

How to cure chilblains

Posted by | July 19, 2020 | Podiatry Issues

Chilblains are a cold injury that typically affects the toes. They are unheard of in the warmer climates. The are caused by an abnormal response of the small blood vessels to the change in temperature which cause the inflammation. This inflammation initially causes a red itchy and painful patch on the toes. After repeated episodes, this becomes chronic and takes on a dark bluish, almost black type of appearance.

The best way to “cure” chilblains is not to get them in the first place. You can prevent chilblains by preventing them from becoming cold. This is obviously not always that practical, but what is practical is the use of socks that are warm and footwear that is insulating. If the foot does get cold, then it is extremely important that it is warmed up slowly. Do not come in from the cold and put the foot in front of a heat source. It is the too rapid warming of the skin before the circulation responds that is considered to trigger the inflammatory response.

If you do get a chilblain, then follow the advice above about preventing the next one and then deal with the current one by using creams to help stimulate the circulation and protect it with padding or wound dressings while it heals up. Preventing another one from occurring is the key to the ongoing management.

It is also important to eat and be healthy, perhaps taking beetroot juice, and other foods that are thought to help the circulation. In the worst cases, there are drugs that could be trialed to help with the circulation to prevent them.