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I think it’s the same thing. At least, I’ve always considered it the same thing. I think when the whole digit appears red and swollen it’s actually some inflammation in the joint. Feel around and I think you will find that there is pain in the joint when you press on it. The itchiness comes when the sore is healing, but mine will remain red and swollen for a couple weeks until this happens. I’m not a doctor, I’m just speaking from my own experience. Keep it warm, get some warmer boots, wear foot warmers when you are going outside for a while. I think soaking it in some warm, not hot water will also speed the healing. Show it to a doctor if you’re concerned.
Look at the chilblains post, just a couple posts down from this one.
I get them every year. Both fingers and toes. Usually the same ones over and over. Only once did one of mine open up, and that was because I bumped it accidentally where the chilblains was already very inflamed, then the bump turned into a split in the skin. It eventually healed, took a while.
I live in Montana. I have spent a lifetime developing ways to avoid chilblains, but I still get them every year.
My newest favorite product is not so much to prevent the chilblains but to treat it. I got a rechargeable USB hand warmer, by Human Creations – EnergyFlux Slim 4400. I carry it around with me whenever I leave the house, keep it in my mitten when I’m outside or just hold onto it when I am in a store/someones house. The constant heat on my chilblains seems to make them heal faster…the painful/itchy part doesn’t last as long. I’m sure it also prevents some chilblains but I can’t say that for sure as I have only had it for a month. I only got one, as the right side of my body seems to get the brunt of the tissue damage.
The product is for your hands only, it will not fit into a boot. For that I just use disposable heat packs, the ones that stick to your sock, when I am out skiing or hiking.
I tried that cream mentioned above, threw it away, didn’t feel like it did anything. My best advice is try to stay warm in the first place, wear mittens all the time, get some highly rated boots (I wear Baffin on cold days, rated to -160 degrees, made for arctic expeditions, and on above zero days I wear a cheaper, lighter Columbia boot rated to -40), wear wool socks. I have down booties that I wear in the house and in other peoples houses.
Any questions, just let me know. I’ll be happy to help more if I can.
UPDATE: I used the hand warmer last night to go out and pick up dinner, then I forgot about it and accidentally left it on low in my mitten all night and all morning long, 17 hours. It was still on, with one battery light left.