Winter Foot Injuries: Tips For Treating and Preventing Chilblains

Posted by on Friday, December 2nd, 2016

You’ve been outside in the cold, and as you’re on your way in the house, you can’t wait to get your boots off. It feels like someone’s rubbed sandpaper on the tops of your toes—ouch! Upon closer inspection, you notice your toes are red, inflamed, and sore. They throb and itch uncontrollably. Is it a blister? Frostbite? Trench foot? It could actually be a common winter condition called chilblains (or pernio). Today, NYC podiatrists from The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine share important facts about this cold weather affliction and how to treat it.

Are your toes red, inflamed, and itchy? It could be chilblains. Image Source: Wikimedia user Ian Dunster.

What Causes Chilblains?

Essentially, chilblains are caused by an inflammatory response. “Chilblain flare-ups occur when the tiny blood vessels in your toes shut down to conserve heat,” explains Dr. Josef Geldwert, a board-certified foot surgeon in Manhattan. “Normally, these capillaries open up again when we go inside and warm up, but with chilblains sufferers, there is a 30-minute delay.” Without sufficient circulation and blood supply to gradually warm us, the skin becomes overheated and damaged. The hot, red, itchy inflammatory response occurs once the blood runs across the injured soft tissue.

Who Is At Risk?

We have seen chilblains in old people. We have seen them in children as young as six—often hours after they play in the snow. We have seen them in people who are otherwise completely healthy. Little is known about the precise cause of chilblains, but we believe there is an undiscovered genetic link. Approximately 1 out of 10 people are affected by chilblains, and there are certain risk factors that may predispose a person to get chilblains in the winter:

  • Autoimmune diseases like lupus
  • Blood disorders like viral hepatitis
  • Tight clothing in damp, cold weather
  • Female gender
  • Poor circulation
  • Smoking
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome
  • Being sedentary
  • Working outside in the cold
  • Wearing ill-fitting boots
  • Being underweight (by about 20%)
  • A location that has high humidity and cold temperatures but is not freezing

Treatments and Preventative Measures

You may be able to prevent chilblains by doing foot exercises to increase circulation. Make sure you are wearing loose wool socks (ideally two pairs of socks) and waterproof boots that have been professionally sized to fit your feet. Avoid a hot shower right away after coming inside. Instead, allow the feet time to gradually warm up or put them into a basin of warm water. Before you go outside, put on a moisturizing cream or a menthol ointment like Zambuk that is specially formulated to open up the blood vessels. Avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet, and be sure you are getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins!

If you have chilblains, avoid scratching the site. Instead, you can apply calamine lotion to reduce itching and use lanolin to bring down the swelling. Although it may seem tempting, do not apply heat packs to the affected area. The best course of home treatment is to soak your feet in Epsom salt and lukewarm water for 20 minutes. The chilblains should heal completely on their own within 7-14 days, and, in most cases, they do not cause long-term damage. However, serious cases may turn into weepy ulcers. If you are diabetic, you should see your doctor immediately, as any small sore on the foot runs the risk of becoming a non-healing, infected ulcer. Infections can threaten life or limb, so if you are not seeing progress within two weeks or if the situation seems to be worsening with every passing day, seek medical attention from a NYC podiatrist.

A Podiatrist Can Help

One of the main reasons people seek a doctor’s opinion is to rule out something more serious like Raynaud’s Syndrome or lupus. Even if it is just a particularly severe case of chilblains, your doctor can prescribe a medicine such as nifedipine to dilate blood vessels or a topical steroid to expedite healing. UV light therapy or ultrasound may also increase circulation and natural healing factors while alleviating some of the pain. Additionally, we have special dressings to treat ulcers or broken skin and prevent infection. Whatever your exact situation, we’re happy to help you come up with a strategy to prevent recurring chilblains. Don’t suffer this winter; contact Manhattan podiatrists here.


Foot Pain Treatments Without Steroids for White Plains Patients

Posted by on Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Steroid injections such as cortisone shots can significantly decease foot pain within six to twelve weeks. However, this may not be the ideal solution for every patient, according to the White Plains foot doctors at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. The team offers a wide arsenal of pain management technologies to help foot pain sufferers who may not be able to take steroids for various reasons.

white plains podiatrists
Is a steroid injection right for managing your foot pain?  Image Source: Flickr user Steven Depolo.

TENEX FAST Procedure Offers New Yorkers Relief From Tendon Pain

Posted by on Monday, November 28th, 2016

Chronic tendon pain has been fairly misunderstood in the scientific community until the last 5-10 years, according to Josef Geldwert, a board-certified Doctor of Podiatric Medicine in New York City. Previously, all tendon issues were categorized as “tendonitis,” which implies inflammation and is treated with cortisone shots, rest, ice, and sometimes physical therapy. Some patients healed during this treatment, but many continued to suffer from chronic tendon troubles. Often, these patients would go on to have surgical debridement, which fixed the problem but resulted in long recovery times.

“We now know that the problem is not necessarily inflammation but weakened collagen and tissue degeneration, which tends to occur after eight or ten weeks,” explains Dr. Geldwert. “Fortunately, technology exists that helps patients get back on their feet again without major surgery.”

The TENEX procedure can work wonders for patients who have torn or degenerated tendons causing severe pain and disability, and it’s available right here at your local New York City podiatrist office.

Tendon pain is no match for the TENEX procedure.
Tendon pain is no match for the TENEX procedure. Image Source: Wikimedia user Rotatebot.

Get Outdoors This Fall: Best NYC Trails for Running, Biking, and Cycling

Posted by on Friday, November 25th, 2016

The last of the red, yellow, and orange leaves still cling to the branches. With temperatures in the fifties, it’s the perfect week to get out and enjoy the crisp autumn weather before the chill of winter hits. Today, our NYC podiatrists share their top picks for New York’s best running and hiking trails.

nyc running
Brooklyn Bridge Park offers stunning views of the city and waterfront for runners and cyclists alike. Image Source: Flickr user dumbonyc.

NFL News: Amari Cooper’s “Whole Game” Affected By Plantar Fasciitis

Posted by on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Plantar fasciitis is a bit like parenting—just because it affects a lot of people doesn’t mean it’s easy. The Oakland Raiders’ Amari Cooper was nearly shut down for his rookie season by a bad case of chronic heel pain. Though he was able to reach 1,000 receiving yards, he told KGMZ San Francisco,”I really wasn’t myself. I think it affected my whole game.” NY podiatrists describe how Amari Cooper’s foot condition affected his performance, how it may have been treated, and how you can obtain similar care in the New York City region.

oakland raiders
Amari Cooper and Derek Carr are back to being a dynamic duo for the Raiders this season after plantar fasciitis took Cooper out last year. Image Source: Flickr user A Syn.

NY Podiatrists Recommend High-Tech Performance Socks For Stocking Stuffers

Posted by on Monday, November 21st, 2016

Socks are one of those stereotypical “boring gifts from mom” we’ve all gotten in the past. But NY podiatrists say, “Not so fast—socks can be a really thoughtful and useful Christmas gift!” High quality performance socks are something people hate to spend money on for themselves, but everybody needs them.

“They make the perfect complement to a clothes purchase,” explains Dr. Mariola Rivera, DPM. “I’ll buy a sweater and a tie—and throw in a pair of socks for good measure! Or, if your family does stockings, it’s a great surprise to stuff into the toe!”

But all socks aren’t created equal. There are threadbare cheap-o socks that can be purchased by the bunch from drug stores, and then there are truly high-quality, functional socks that will withstand the years in good repair and become the wearer’s favorite pair. Today, the foot doctors at The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan have a list of their favorite performance socks for 2016.

christmas socks
Performance socks can make for fun and functional stocking stuffers. Image Source:

Minimizing Risk Following NYC Foot Surgery By Following Post-Surgical Advice

Posted by on Friday, November 18th, 2016

There’s no denying the stressful nature of surgery, particularly surgery of the foot or ankle which limits mobility for a time. However, failure to follow post-surgical advice can cause delayed healing, worsening of pain, worsening mobility, and recurrent injury—a frustrating situation for both patient and practitioner.

Dr. Katherine Lai and Dr. Mariola Rivera from The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in New York City discuss the most important instructions patients must follow after surgery to minimize their risk for complications following NYC foot surgery.

Elevation is key for patients recovering from foot surgery.
Elevation is key for patients recovering from foot surgery. Image Source: Flickr CC user Mark Giles.

White Plains Gait Analysis For Children Can Identify Gait Abnormalities

Posted by on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Are you worried about the way your child is walking? Do you want to keep tabs on your child’s musculoskeletal development and make sure you have him or her in the right type of footwear? Have you debated custom orthotics, prostheses, or assistive walking devices for your youngster? Has your child suffered a lower extremity injury or received a diagnosis for a degenerative disease? White Plains gait analysis for children can help.

The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine’s office in White Plains is specially equipped for pediatric early intervention and treatments with a state-of-the-art gait analysis center. Don’t wait and worry: have all your questions answered by a team of knowledgeable and compassionate foot and ankle specialists!

child gait abnormalities
A child with cerebral palsy undergoes gait analysis as part of broader treatment to improve and maintain mobility. Image Source: Wikimedia user Iluvicedtea

Traveling For The Holidays? These NYC Podiatrist Tips Will Keep Your Feet Happy

Posted by on Monday, November 14th, 2016

The number of Americans traveling to be with family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday has grown for seven consecutive years. In 2015, 46.9 million people traveled 50 miles or more by car or plane to enjoy turkey outside their hometown. Vacations are significant events that many of us look forward to, but foot pain can quickly bring our fun to a halt. The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine foot specialists offer these tips to keep you as mobile as possible this holiday travel season.

foot health tips
Ready for a vacation? Take along these foot health tips to stay active and comfortable. Image Source:

White Plains Podiatrist Recommended Walking Tour: DIY Pokemon Go In LoHud

Posted by on Friday, November 11th, 2016

It’s November—four months since Pokemon Go’s wildly popular debut. Around White Plains, there are no signs of slowing as people mill around the streets looking at their smartphones and catching virtual creatures. There’s a massive Pokestop at Westchester & North Broadway—just 12 minutes from our office.

As White Plains podiatrists, we’re thrilled to see so many young people motivated to get out and walk around their neighborhoods. Some users report walking about two miles each day. So get out your walking shoes and be sure to hit these White Plains Pokemon hot spots!