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    Sunday, March 16, 2008


    I've been wearing wool socks since December. Working outside + losing weight has made my hands and feet cold all the time.

    A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my toes hurt and were swollen. I mean they looked like swollen grapes. Mr. Sign got tired of hearing me whine about it until I showed him. Then he was all, "Holy Shit! WTF is wrong with your toes?"

    I thought the swelling was a result of a late found allergy to wool socks so I stopped wearing them and started wearing cotton ones. It didn't help and in fact, my toes started to itch (at night) as well as being painful. I couldn't really see anything except that they were red. The swelling went down.

    A few days later, I noticed red blister looking things on my toes. WTF?

    I finally called the doctor's office to make an appointment only to find out that our doctor does not take our current insurance (Mr. Sign got a new job a few weeks ago as a result of his newly acquired Master's Degree).

    So I decide to tough it out a little longer. I finally get the brilliant idea to check the internet with my symptoms. (I'm a quick one, I tell ya!) I found out that I have a classic case of Chilblains. I've highlighted in red, all of the symptoms I suffer from.

    A chilblain is a small, red swelling on the skin which can be very itchy and gradually becomes very painful. Chilblains usually occur on the smaller toes but can occur on the finger, face and the nose. They occur due to an abnormal reaction of the body to cold. A chilblain may also occur on a pressure bearing area such as a bunion.


    • A chilblain will usually appear as a red, swollen lesion.
    • They can dry out leaving cracks in the skin, which expose the skin to infection.


    • The lesion becomes increasingly painful.
    • The lesion becomes very itchy.
    • Patients may suffer from a burning sensation on their feet.
    • In extreme cases the surface of the skin may break and an infection may develop.


    • A chilblain is an abnormal reaction to cold.
    • Elderly people with a poor circulation are at a greater risk.
    • Young adults who work outdoors or in cold conditions, such as butchers, are also at risk.
    • If the skin is chilled and then followed by too rapid warming such as a gas fire, a chilblain may develop.
    • Damp living conditions can also be a contributing factor.
    • The sudden onset of very cold water on the skin can also lead to a chilblain.
    • Other contributing factors include dietary, hormonal imbalance and people who suffer from anemia.


    • Keep legs and body warm, especially if you have poor circulation.
    • Leg warmers and thick woolen socks may be of benefit.


    • Don’t scratch them
    • Place your feet close to fires or electric radiators/heaters.
    • Rest your feet on hot water bottles.
    • Sleep with your electric blanket on high temperature settings.

    To sum this up, I have some strange affliction that is caused by poor circulation (I haven't told you guys, but I have horrible problems with numbness and tingling in my toes and fingers daily. A side effect of weight loss surgery), working in the cold, reheating cold feet too quickly, and I'm not supposed to use my electric blanket (the blanket has been my reason for living lately). *sigh*

    Yes, these are my ugly toes. This was the best I could do.
    Have you ever tried taking a picture of the bottom of your foot?

    I told my mom what I thought it was and she told me that people don't get that anymore. Um, yeah Mom, people obviously do.

    I'm just happy to know that I'm not going to get Gangrene and die from this stuff. The worse part is that not much makes it better until warmer weather. Oh, UV light will help. Anyone got any extra sunlight they can spare?


    The Savage said...

    You are the first person I have met that currently suffers from some archaic ailment.... Okay I know it's sick of me but.... You rock!

    katie said...

    Hope it all gets better soon, sign gurl!

    and i hope you had a great weekend too! :)much love to ya. :)

    gab said...

    I have never heard of that! Wow sounds like the Rhynoids I have in my hands and fingers and I guess you can get it on your face as well. Hope your feet start to heal soon. P.s. I know you like your electric blanket but have you ever just tried a large quilt? I haveone and I love it. I stick out my feet when they get too hot and just snuggle in the rest of me. its great.

    Lori said...

    I've never heard of it either...and I'm really old so....that's saying somethin. lol

    It definately appears to be a correct diagnosis. Your poor toes. HUGS Hope they don't cause too much discomfort until the warmer weather starts...which won't be this week dammit.

    Wanna_B_slimmer said...

    I used to suffer from them years ago as I worked in a tin shed with icicles dripping from the roof in winter and I used to warm my feet infront of a fan heater....hence heating them up too quick... I bought a cream from the chemist that helped... ask them...cant hurt right???

    lime said...

    yikes, it sounds painful and unpleasant. i hope it clears up soon!

    G-Man said...

    I do have this foot thing ya know....

    But Chilblains??

    Sounds like an Eskimo STD!


    Yippeeskip said...

    My hands and feet are always cold and I live in San Diego where the weather is around 68-75 degrees right now.

    jillie said...

    I will send some up to you right now! My friend Joan that was out recently from WI suffers from being cold all of the time since her bypass surgery as well. I have heard of that but it's been a LONG time.

    Hope your feel get back to normal soon ;o)

    Shell said...

    I am sending you some CA sunshine for your poor toes!

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    Naughty Endevours said...

    Wow. That's scary! I hope you feel better!

    snowelf said...

    Oh, owie! I hope your little toesies heal up soon!

    (I'm watching the Biggest Loser and it's really good tonight--even with the crying. ;) )


    Strumpet said...

    Maybe you can buy one of those things like they have when you get a pedicure that shines UV light on your toes so that they dry faster...

    I am not sure how much they are, but it can't be an overly outrageous amount so that your toesies can feel better.

    Or, maybe you can head to a pedi place that has one and just indulging in pedicures might help them to heal.

    Anyhow, I am way late to this post, cos I'm in Florida right now and REALLY don't want to get back to all this snow Chi is getting as I type this apparently....but hopefully while I have been away your toes have been feeling a little bit better.

    Isn't there some kind of medicated topical cream you can try?

    Or maybe go to a health food store, or Whole Foods, or GNC, and ask them if they know of any natural things you can try!

    Good luck! I will send good toesie-wosie vibes your way, Sign-babe.

    And I love your cute new pic.


    Mona said...

    Yes it's Dec 16, 2011. I wanted to let you know that I too have chilblains. I have not had weight loss surgery but have lost 135 lbs. My toes look just like your picture. I would love an update on your condition. My feet are cold my everything is cold! I wonder if I will eve be warm again! Thanks, Mona

    SignGurl said...

    Mona, I haven't had any trouble with chilblains in a few years. I think it may have been my bodies reaction to losing all that weight. Of course, I have gained some of my weight back. :(

    justjo said...

    how have you been since you stopped using the electric blanket? jo Liverpool uk

    Anonymous said...

    I am currently sitting here with burning toes and feet :) iv known what mine are for a very long time and I cannot get rid of them. my toes are wrapped up with bandaids and numbing cream so hopefully I can get some sleep tonight! Its the worst feeling!

    Anonymous said...

    With the onset of winter, I have them back as well. I knitted loose wool socks for fun last year, did not intend they be soo loss but they may great "sleep socks". It's a little early to tell but my toes are feeling and looking much better. May be that the socks are very loose, the wool breathes or something else but am hoping for the best. Was so much fun making the socks that it's no loss anyway.

    Janet Lewis said...

    I am so happy to find this post. FINALLY I have found someone who experiences the same and lists all the symptoms I have. No doctor seems to get it so at least now I can show them this.This is agonizing. I can barely walk in my most comfortable shoes, have many spots and blisters and my toes are so swollen and burn/throb. Antibiotic cream doesn't help at all. I live in Canada so getting away from the cold is not an option. Has anyone tried the preventative prescription for this and did it help?