Winter is here in PA, complete with snow, whipping winds, and freezing temperatures, and we know what that means. If you haven’t already, now is the time to break out our winter hats, gloves, scarves, and heavy coats to keep us warm on these frigid winter days. But don’t make the mistake of forgetting about your feet! Today Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen of greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center share six of the most common cold-weather foot problems we see in our practice.
As we all know, dropping temperatures can be difficult on your extremities, particularly your feet. Exposure to the frigid air slows blood circulation to the feet and hands to maintain the body’s core temperature. Here are six of the most common foot problems we see each winter so you can avoid these conditions this winter.
- Frostbite.When in ice-cold temperatures for extended periods, frostbite can develop. It happens when the cold air can cause blood vessels to tighten, limiting blood flow to the tissue causing tissue death or damage.
- Cracked, dry heels.Particularly common in men, cracks or fissures can develop if left untreated, which increases your risk of infection.
- Chilblains. Also referred to as pernio, caused by painful swelling of blood vessels in your skin due to extended exposure to cold air. It can cause red patches, swelling, blisters, and itching on your feet and hands.
- Toenail fungus. If your thick socks don’t remove the moisture, your nails can become a breeding ground for athlete’s foot and other infections.
- Neuropathy issues or Morton’s Neuroma. Cold weather can worsen neuropathy conditions and cause numbness, tingling, burning, pain, and weakness in the area. Wearing shoes or boots that constrict or pinch your feet also can cause trigger these conditions.
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Typically seen in females with circulation problems, this condition can develop when fingers or toes are exposed to cold air, causing the small capillaries to spasm, which limits blood flow to the area. It causes pain, numbness, and the skin to turn blue or white.
Here are 5 tips to protect your feet this winter:
- Keep your feet dry and clean.
- Wear shoes that have good traction.
- Moisturize each day.
- Try not to get cold feet.
- Make sure your shoes or boots fit correctly.
If you’re experiencing foot pain or suspect that a problem may be developing, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of the experts at greater Philadelphia’s Your Next Step Foot and Ankle Care Center. Click here to locate the office nearest you.