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As the weather has started to cool for winter we have started to see some chilblains as it is that time of the year. That can also be a bit misleading as chilblains are not technically due to the cold weather, but are due to how the small blood vessels in the foot respond to the changes in temperature from cold to being warmed up.

Chilblains are typically red painful and itchy spots on the toes and other areas of the foot (though they can less commonly also affect the hands, ears and nose). They only appear in the colder climates and are pretty much unheard of in warmer climates. They typically occur when the foot has been cold and is warmed up too quickly for the small blood vessels to react to that change in temperature. This releases chemicals that cause the itch and creates an inflammatory reaction leading to the chilblain. They can become quite painful and break down which might lead to an infection. Repeated exposure to the cold may lead to the chilblain becoming chronic.

The best way to deal with chilblains is to prevent them from happening in the first place. This means making sure the foot does not get cold, so keep on warm socks and closed in shoes. If the foot does get cold, then make sure it is warmed up slowly. Do not put a very cold foot in front of a heat source – warm it up slowly.

If a chilblain does occur, then protect it. Keep it warm. Use some gentle rubbing of it with a cream to stimulate the circulation. Please give us a call and come and see us if you are troubled with chilblains. There is plenty we can do and plenty of advice that we can give.

You can read all the latest research on chilblains at Podiatry Arena, Craigs blog post on beetroot and chilblains as well as an episode of PodChatLive on chilblains.

This is a question we get asked a lot. They don’t. It is a myth that persists.

The reason that it persists is because corns do often keep coming back after we have removed them. They do not come back because we left the “root” there, like the plant analogy that the myth is based on. They come back because the cause of the corn is still there. They only way to stop a corn coming back is to remove that cause. Just removing a corn does not remove that cause.

A skilled podiatrist can easily remove a corn, but as that corn is caused by too much pressure on the area in which it develops, unless that pressure is removed the corn will return. You need to discus it with your podiatrist what needs to be done to either eliminate that excessive pressure or reduce it so that the corn is not so much of a problem.

The reason for that high pressure will vary from “corn to corn”, but it could be from, for example, a hammer toe pushing on tight fitting shoes; it could be between the toes and the alignment of the toes is off slightly, causing high pressure on the spot where the corn develops; or it could be from the shoe pushing on a bunion. The reason for the corn needs to be determined and that reason taken away if the corn is to be stopped from returning.

How that pressure is removed is going to be determined by the reason for the pressure. Was it the shape of the toe? Is there a bit of enlarged bone? Do the shoes not fit properly? Once that has been assessed then advice can be given on the best strategy to remove or lesson that pressure to prevent them from coming back

Bottom line is that corns do not have roots and if anyone asks you if “Do foot corns have roots?”, then tell then they don’t.