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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Fingertips swollen, red, numb. Susceptible to cold weather. Are they chilblains?

For the past two days the fingertips on my right hand have progressively become swollen, slightly red, but not painful. There s a kind of numb feeling when I bend them, but no real discomfort. The left hand is normal. I m a well person and take exercise, but am susceptible to cold weather. Could these be a type of chilblains? I don t want to bother my GP unless necessary but this is a bit worrying. Thank you for any help.
Thu, 27 Jun 2013
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Dermatologist 's  Response
Hi,

You are right, you are having chilblains, also known as pernio.

It occurs after exposure to cold.

It is an abnormal reaction to cold.

There is constriction of capillaries in skin.

It may be idiopathic, i.e. without cause.

Or there may be some cause.

Familial tendency, smoking, connective tissue diseases may be associated with chilblains.

It may be selflimiting.

Warm water soaking may improve the condition.

Mild steroid and antibiotics may relieve pain, burning and itching.

Vasodilators like nifedipine and pentoxyphylline may be helpful.

If you are smoking, quit it.

Keep the skin moist for prevention.

I hope you got my answer.

Thanks.

Dr. Ilyas Patel MD
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Fingertips swollen, red, numb. Susceptible to cold weather. Are they chilblains?

Hi, You are right, you are having chilblains, also known as pernio. It occurs after exposure to cold. It is an abnormal reaction to cold. There is constriction of capillaries in skin. It may be idiopathic, i.e. without cause. Or there may be some cause. Familial tendency, smoking, connective tissue diseases may be associated with chilblains. It may be selflimiting. Warm water soaking may improve the condition. Mild steroid and antibiotics may relieve pain, burning and itching. Vasodilators like nifedipine and pentoxyphylline may be helpful. If you are smoking, quit it. Keep the skin moist for prevention. I hope you got my answer. Thanks. Dr. Ilyas Patel MD