Medical Definition of Chilblain

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Chilblain: An injury due to cold temperatures that, although painful, causes little or no permanent impairment. It appears as red, swollen skin that is tender and hot to the touch and may itch. This can worsen to an aching, prickly ('pins and needles') sensation, and then numbness. It can develop in only a few hours in skin exposed to extreme cold. The treatment for chilblain is to stop exposure to cold, remove any wet or constrictive clothing, gently wash and dry the injured area, elevate the injured area, cover the injured area with layers of loose warm clothes, and allow the injured area to rewarm.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018