Chilblains Treatment

| Modified on Jan 30, 2023
Zinc Oxide Cream
Posted by Sarah (Arkansas) on 02/05/2018

I've found that using zinc oxide has helped me tremendously. I started having this problem with my toes 3 years ago - red bumps, rash and swelling. I could hardly walk and wearing shoes was almost unbearable! No prescription medicines nor anything else I tried seemed to help. Then, as mysteriously as the symptoms appeared, they cleared up as winter ended! The red bumps always start on my 2nd toe, then a rash would appear on all my toes. The 2nd winter, it had spread to two toes when I started using over-the-counter extra strength diaper rash paste with zinc oxide. In the morning after showering, I dry my feet thoroughly, then apply a thin layer of the paste. I apply once per day during the winter months. I also change my socks and/or shoes twice a day and try to avoid extreme temperature changes. This is now my 3rd year dealing with chilblains (which my doctor diagnosed as a fungus) and diaper rash paste works for me!

Eliminate Dairy and Gluten
Posted by Karen (Michigan) on 11/02/2020

My journey with chilblains started over 10 years ago. It felt like my toe was stuck in a small hole in a nylon stocking. Like it was being strangled. Drove me bonkers. Then it always hurt more at nightime. The intense itching and pain kept me awake. Some nights I just wanted to grab scissors and just snip them off because the itch was intense along with the pain.

My first trip was to foot doctor. They did every test. Circulation checked. Nope. Finally years later internist sent me to vascular surgeon after he couldnt figure it out.

Vascular surgeon did catheterization and concluded it was vasculitis. Explained what it was, said it was an inflammation on the lining outside of the artery wall, gave remedy to help with it. After 2 more years of it not clearing I called him up and went in. I told him my vasculitis was not clearing. He sent me to a rheumatoid doctor thinking it was auto immune.

That doctor ordered so many blood tests I thought I was ready for embalming! Seventeen vials later, nothing showed up in all the tests. I ended up researching on my own. Chilblains popped up and I found pictures of it and it matched what my toes looked like. Further research led me to check here.

I too went on a gluten free diet and found relief. Had gluten 2 days in a row and guess what is keeping me awake tonight? Maddening itch and painful toes! This is 2nd time the itch came back. Both times I had gluten. I have yet to go dairy free, but will chart my response on that.

Hydrogen Peroxide Napkin Plaster
Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 05/25/2021

Hydrogen Peroxide Napkin Plaster for Toe Chilblains:

Give this a try. It worked for me. This remedy also works on toe nail fungus. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to eliminate fungi causing chilblains and add O2 to the blood stream in the toes.

Fold down a paper towel or napkin just enuff to cover your toenails completely, top, sides and bottom. Then place napkin in a bowl and saturate the napkin with 3% H2O2 brown bottle. Wrap the napkin over your toes, top and bottom. Tuck and fold the sides of the napkin and put a recycled bread bag over your foot (I tried using plastic-wrap but it leaked everywhere and soaked the socks). Then put on an old sock to keep everything in place. This way you can move around the house freely.

You will need to do this for a few hours or over-nite, everyday for 10-14 days.

Don't forget to change and clean all your socks, sandals & shoes or at least pour ACV in your shoes every time if you suspect fungal infection.

Source of idea:

Elevate Feet, Exercise
Posted by P.b. (Sydney, Cape Breton) on 02/12/2010

Severely itchy toes & heels

Hello all, After suffering from this on and off for a year, comments on another forum finally helped me figure out I had chillblains and I thought I would share my experience. Maybe there is higher awareness in other parts of the world but I had never heard of this before and it certainly seemed to be off the radar for the 4 docs. I saw too.

This starts as a severe localized itch usually one one toe, with no mark, but develops into severe itch on most toes, which become swollen, shiny, red and sometimes purple in spots, and severely itchy. There may be flat blister-type things and small spots as well, on the toes and possibly heels. This all happens at the tips of the toes and back of heel, NOT between the toes. I can't describe how awful the itchiness is, it is truly debilitating, preventing you from going out comfortably, and from sleeping.

I saw 4 doctors and was diagnosed with fungal, bacterial and viral infections but the medications didn't help. Meanwhile I was trying to get relief from the itch from soaking my feet in ice water and hot water as hot as I could stand. I was convinced it was a kind of infection and even resorted to putting bleach on my toes. In desperation I scoured the internet one night unable to sleep and finally considered chillblains.

Chillblains are caused by poor circulation and temperature changes the feet are exposed to (some people get this in their fingers too apparently). Despite living in cold Canada, no doctor ever raised this as a possibility with me! I considered myself fit and active but do sit at a desk in a cold room every day and have low bp. I thought it'd be worth a try to see if the chillblain treatments helped. Within a day, my feet felt 100% better though they still looked bad. The trick with chillblains is that once you have them, warming your feet causes them to itch (this is why I kept thinking the "infection" was spreading). Treating the itch with ice and hot water and going barefoot worsened the condition.

The recommended treatment is to elevate your feet to help with swelling, keep your feet warm but avoid temperature extremes, use calamine lotion for the itch or hydrocortisone (though this didn't help me). Vicks vaporub seemed to help too. Exercise that promotes circulation helped, if the itch started I would go for a brisk walk and it would resolve soon after.

If you're not sure about whether you have this, you could try this approach for a day or two - the results will show up that fast! The redness and swelling go down and itching episodes decrease. I thought I would go mad as despite tons of research I could never find a fungal infection that manifested this way, and then the images of chillblains online looked exactly like what I had.

That said, there are bacterial infections that manifest in a similar way and I'm sure other things too, so as with anything it's always worth checking in with a doc. first.

Posted by Christine (Nottingham, England) on 02/10/2012

I remember when we were children and suffered with nasty chilblains our mum would get us to soak our feet in urine. I do not remeber how long we did it for. It was a long time ago, but it did work. The old folk knew a thing or two in those days. Good luck

Eliminate Dairy and Gluten
Posted by Christian (South Australia) on 06/19/2014

Every winter I would get annoying chilblain....until by luck I found out that if I stop consuming dairy and gluten products I would not get the chilblains during that matter how cold it was;) Don't ask me why it works....I just know that it does for me! Maybe give it a shot and have a chilblain-free winter!!!!

Aloe Vera, Propolis, Manuka Honey
Posted by Lu (Brisbane, Australia) on 06/10/2011

I had a look at your site for chilblain remedies and noted that you only have limited suggestions. I used aloe vera gel on my toes and it started to disappear in two days.

Another suggestion would be to use propolis (liquid extract) as it is a very powerful healer as well. If all else fails I would try Manuka honey but since it is the most expensive, leave it till last.


Eliminate Dairy and Gluten
Posted by Maddie (Melbourne) on 06/27/2016

Cutting gluten and sugar worked for me too. I had chilblains every year for over 10 years - to the point I could never remove my ring for 3 months each winter - and the only year I didn't get them was after severely reducing gluten and fructose.

Vitamin K
Posted by Lanna (Wichita, Kansas) on 02/01/2013

My 12 year old son has been suffering from chilblains on his toes. He has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal, so is unable to really tell us what is wrong. We first noticed that he was having difficulty walking. It wasn't until his toes swelled up and turned red/bluish that we could narrow it down to chilblains. His feet were very cold to the touch also. The pain was the most difficult as it got so bad that he refused to walk at all.

As I was searching for ideas to help him I came across somebody who mentioned that years ago they were given vitamin K tablets by their doctor and it had cleared it up. I googled "chilblains and vitamin K" and came across an article from 1947 on the NIH website that claimed success with vitamin K. At this point I figured I had nothing to lose - my son's toes were looking quite bad and he was miserable - and there wasn't much the doctor could do.

I happened to have a store brand of Advanced K2 Complex capsules on hand. I gave the first dose before bedtime that night and then did two doses a day after that. By that afternoon he was up and walking. Still a little tender, but the swelling had gone down and obviously the pain was much improved. We are now on day three and he is almost back to normal. I was so happy to see these results that I had to share.

Aloe Vera, Propolis, Manuka Honey
Posted by Wednesday (Tokyo, Japan) on 01/12/2013

Do you apply the propolis to the affected area or drink it? I have propolis (the kind you drink, 1 tsp a day).

Posted by Eva (Amsterdam, Netherlands) on 02/12/2010

I had this too, until I was told that urine will make it go away. Before you go to bed put some of your own urine on your toes (or affected area). I did not wash it off, but put socks on before I went to sleep. Did this about 6 times and forgot about it, until I realized about a month later that my toes were not bothering me anymore.

Rubbing Alcohol
Posted by Deb W. (Wisconsin) on 11/09/2016

This is an easy one. I had chilblains. I didn't know what they were at first. I mentioned it to my Dad and he told me to use rubbing alcohol. So, I put some on a cotton ball and rubbed my toes with it. Didn't take to many days and it was gone. So to keep it from coming back, I put the rubbing alcohol on my toes before I went outside to keep it from coming back. I have no need for it anymore.

Epsom Salt and Coconut Oil
Posted by Trish (Whanagui, New Zealand ) on 07/21/2015

I looked on this site for help with chilblains on my toes. They were so painful I could barely walk. I decided to soak my feet in warm water with Epsom salts and then massage with coconut oil. I went to bed noticing my toes felt quite hot but comfortable. Felt a bit better in the morning and took 2 anti flams. By mid day there was hardly any discomfort. I am not sure what worked but am repeating it again hoping to be rid of them by tomorrow. I am excited to say the least. Thanks everyone who posted their helpful hints.

Peppermint and Neem Oils
Posted by Mary (Utica, Ny) on 03/30/2014

Chilblains Treatment: My husband has suffered with red, raw toes for years. This occurs only in the winter time. While researching this site there was no doubt he has Chilblains. We started trying different suggestions. Peppermint oil, helped. Went to health food store they suggested neem oil. We mixed the two oils together, applied twice each day. Unbelievably, redness is gone and so is the pain. He will keep applying till cold weather is over.

Silica Gel
Posted by Joey L (Oxford, Uk) on 03/29/2013

I have got to share this nugget of wisdom I have found for relieving chilblains...

Selica Gel. The packets you get when you buy new items, to keep them dry. Put some in your socks and wear them. This has gotten me through a working day on my feet without aggravating the soreness, and I believe it helps clear up the condition from keeping the feet from getting too humid/wet.

Vitamin K
Posted by Amb (Des Moines, Iowa) on 02/12/2013

Thanks for sharing Lanna. I'm going to get some vitamin K tomorrow! I had a red bump on the top of my 2nd toe... Started about 3 weeks ago. I thought I got bit by a spider in the night. Then after a few days it was the same red and swollen blister like on my little toe and the 2nd toe on the other foot. They really got itchy and burned. I refused to scratch it. Drove me crazy! My toes have been really cold lately too! I tried some antifungral cream cause I thought it was athletes foot. Although it was on the tops of my toes.... Didn't look like athletes foot. The creame sorta helped the itch for a little while. After about 2 weeks I decided enough was enough and go to the doctor. She agreed and said athletes foot and gave me an oral antifungral. After a week from that, still nothing. The only relief I have gotten is by soaking my feet in water I boiled ginger root in. I am convinced it's chilblains and not athletes foot. I just started taking ginger root, cayenne and hawthorn berry supplements. As they improve circulation. I am also using a topical cayenne and ginger ointment and tea tree oil. Getting relief from that also. I thing massaging it in helps. I am going to add the vitamin K to the mix. Guess if anything, I should have better circulation to work out!

Vitamin K
Posted by Lanna (Wichita, Kansas) on 03/22/2013

Amb - Wow... You have tried a lot of things. I am curious if you think the vitamin K helped at all? I hope that you found something that worked for you.

Coconut Oil, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil
Posted by Miss (Edinburgh, Scotland) on 12/18/2012

I made a homemade hand cream from coconut oil, aloe vera and emulsifying wax (bees wax). One Tbsp of each, stirred together in a bowl over a pot of hot water. Each night and morning I would put one drop each of lavender and tea tree essential oil in the palm of my hand - and half a tsp of my coconut hand cream. I would massage it slowly and firmly and gently onto both hands. The massage would take about 5 minutes. I paid particular attention to my nail beds, and finger tips. The chilblains were terrible, but after a week of this my fingers were warmer, healthier and without pain. I wore cotton gloves to bed, at night, to allow the cream to better absorb.

I am so happy with the result. I'd tried all sorts of other things prior to this - with no result at all.

Posted by Nora (Argyll and Bute) on 01/30/2023

Thank you for confirming the urine/chilblains method.

My Grandfather told me about this 55 years ago.
I'm now living in freezing Scotland.. I love this country; but I need to negotiate my chilblain problem. Xxxx.

Sea Salt or Epsom Salt
Posted by Arietta (Chania, Crete, Greece) on 01/11/2012

Adding a cup of sea salt or epsom salt to a foot bath helps tremendously the chilblains. Just have to do it like twice a day for 5-6 days and they'll pretty much be gone depending in the severity. Eating a non-inflammatory diet helps as well.

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