The temperatures are dropping! As temperatures fall and you need to venture outdoors or spend time outside, getting cold feet is a real concern! Extreme exposure of your feet to cold over a prolonged period of time can lead to a condition called frostbite. Frostbite is the destruction of tissue caused by below freezing temperatures. When skin is exposed to the cold, the blood vessels in our feet decrease in size in order to reduce heat loss and to keep our core body temperature regulated. With continued cold exposure, the blood vessel walls change and diverts blood which causes areas of tissues to become bypassed and devitalized.
Frostbite starts by producing pain and a burning sensation in exposed areas. This can then be followed by numbness and changes in skin color (from pale or red to blue, grey and even black!). Children, the elderly and diabetics are more prone to frostbite due to the size of their extremities and possibly poor circulation. In addition, individuals who work outdoors have a higher likelihood of getting frostbite due to their increased exposure to the elements.
If you think you have frostbite, please seek medical attention immediately! It may not just be cold feet!