The winter months have arrived which also means periodic bitter cold spells that can be threatening to your feet. West Linn, Oregon City, Tualatin, Lake Oswego and Canby are all part of the Willamette valley and are subjected to the same weather patterns. The area has already experienced more snow, freezing rain and cold this year than previous years; chances are it’s not done yet. It is imperative to always maintain supportive, warm, and dry foot gear to optimize your foot health. The following are examples of cold weather foot conditions to look out for during the months ahead.
– Raynaud Syndrome, also known as Raynaud’s, is a condition where the blood vessels spasm, constrict and later dilate which occurs when the feet or hands are exposed to cold temperatures. People with this condition develop very pale and eventually blue toes, and/or fingers, when exposed to cold temperatures. Upon resolution of the attack, the digits become flush once again turning red often with the sensation of burning. In these people the body ‘over reacts’ to cold exposure resulting in vascular impairment to the affected digits. About 4% of the population is affected, normal onset is between ages 15 – 30 and females are more frequently affected. Those affected by this condition can take extra precautions such as wearing more supportive, warm and dry foot gear at all times as well as gloves. Wool socks are a great way to maintain foot warmth. It is also imperative to dress warmly in layers, especially at the core (chest and abdomen) region. Those with this condition should never have surgery performed on their feet, especially toes, in colder weather months.
– Frostbite, also known as cold burn, is a condition caused by prolonged exposure to the cold and most commonly affects the toes or forefoot area. The reason for this is that blood vessels are smallest in the lower extremities and constrict at freezing temperatures to maintain core body temperature, ensuring survival. The problem with freezing temperatures is that the toes can become numb and the person may not even realize that they are at high risk for developing frost bite. If one’s shoe gear and/or socks become wet during temperatures that are even remotely close to freezing, it is imperative that activity is suspended until dry gear can be applied. Do not attempt to thaw and continue on your journey as this will result in further tissue damage, increasing the likelihood of amputation.
If you suspect that you may have developed frostbite or have any other foot and ankle concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office. Why spend a lot of your time and money by going to the emergency department when Dr. Peterson or Dr. Keeler are always available to assist you 24/7?