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Spare Your Feet This Winter!

By Rasia Tsvaygenbaum, DPMPodiatry 

Keep your feet and toes warm and toasty with these tips.

Brrr….It’s cold outside! Sandals are out this season and boots and wool socks are all the rage. With the winter season in full swing, our feet tend to face some unique challenges when it comes to foot care. Here are some helpful tips to keep your feet and toes warm and comfortable this winter:

  1. Wool or any warm socks: Wool can absorb a high amount of moisture, even more than cotton, and stays insulated even when feet are wet. Toe warmers and leg warmers are also nice options for keeping warm when outside for an extended period of time.
  2. Appropriate footwear: Closed in shoes, above the ankle, and waterproof are best. Make sure snow cannot easily get into your shoes!
  3. If you like to exercise outside: Wear lightweight, waterproof running shoes. Also, make sure to run or walk on groomed pathways. Traction cleats, such as Yaktrax, can help stabilize your feet when walking on snow or ice.
  4. Fashion boots beware: Ladies, the long boots we all own will not necessarily keep your feet warm. Make sure they are warm and insulated on the inside.
  5. Remote car starter: Consider getting a remote car starter installed which will help ensure your car and your feet are nice and toasty before you drive off to your destination.
  6. Avoid frostbite: Don’t stay out in the cold too long. Frostbite can turn deadly for your toes. Do not wear anything too tight, including shoes, because tight clothing increases risk of frostbite. Be sure to stay hydrated as dehydration and alcohol increases the risk of frostbite. If you start to experience redness and/or a stinging, burning, throbbing, or a prickling feeling, head indoors fast and use warm water to help bring feelings back to normal.
  7. Moisturize: Exposure to cold air dries your feet. Cracking of your feet and skin can lead to breaks in your skin and bleeding or just painful and annoying calluses.
  8. Remove sweaty socks: After exercising, damp feet caused from sweaty socks will not only make you feel colder, they can make you prone to athlete’s foot or fungal infections in your toenails.

While adhering to the above suggested tips, some people may still experience Raynaud’s disease, a condition which causes areas of your body, such as fingers and toes, to turn white then blue and feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress.  This is a result of small arteries that supply blood to your skin narrowing, limiting blood circulation to affected areas. As your body warms up and circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell.  It can take 15 minutes for normal blood flow to return to the area. If you suspect you may have Raynaud’s disease, seek guidance from your physician.