Chilblains (sometimes called pernio) are small, itchy, painful, red, or purple swellings on the skin. Chilblains are caused by an abnormal skin reaction to cold. They tend to occur on ‘extremities’ that easily become cold – that is, your toes, fingers, nose, and earlobes. However, other areas of skin sometimes develop chilblains when they become cold. An infection may occur should the skin break down. Podiatrists will offer treatment options and prevention advice.