Posts for tag: frostbite
We are in the heart of winter and have now had our first snowstorm in NY. Although most people know to dress warm, we have to remind our patients that prolonged exposure in the cold can have some detrimental effects!
With prolonged exposure to cold weather, your feet are often the first part of the body to feel the uncomfortable effects. In an effort to keep our core body temperature stable, blood vessels within our arms and legs will narrow, which is why they're the first parts of our bodies to get cold when temperatures drop.
Frostbite damages body tissues in much the same way that burns do. In fact, frostbite injuries and burn injuries can look very similar. Early frostbite can be nearly indistinguishable from a burn. The damage to skin causes almost identical swelling and blisters at first.
You can't properly treat frostbite unless you recognize it. It's important to both recognize the symptoms of frostbite and know what to do if you experience symptoms.
Mild exposure to cold typically produces pain and irritation of the skin. Greater exposure may produce burning and numbness as well as blistering and reversible damage to the outer skin layers. Eventually, there will be complete loss of sensation and permanent damage to all layers of the skin, arteries, muscles and tendons. Gangrene can ensue and various amputations may be required due to the irreversible damage to the tissues.
If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy and have poor sensation to your feet, be extra careful as you may not identify the early symptoms.
If you’ve had prolonged exposure in the cold do not hesitate to present to the doctor quickly so we can identify the problem and begin treating you! Stay safe everyone.
Well, the weather outside isn’t exactly frightful. It’s been downright beautiful actually, and I’ll take it any day.
Watching the Olympics and seeing people bundled up from the frigid temperatures brings a very common aliment to light. Frostbite is actually much more common than is thought. It’s not just the Alaskan dogsledders and Antarctica explorers that get it. When the temperature is 0 degrees Fahrenheit with a 15 degree wind speed, the result is a wind chill of -19 degrees. At this temperature, bare skin will start to develop frostbite in about 30 minutes. It’s harder to know how fast covered skin will get frostbite, but be aware that it can and does happen.
Since the extremities are further away from the core of the body, specifically the hands and feet, they are usually the first areas affected by frostbite. Anyone who has been in a snowball fight without gloves is familiar with the onset of symptoms. Red, sore and stiff is the first sign of frostnip, which is not frostbite, but is the beginning in the progression of the condition. Usually sticking your hands in your pockets or moving your toes around will be enough to reverse frostnip, but if the cold continues, the area will progress to frostbite.
There are three stages of frostbite, which correspond to how deep the cold penetrates. In the early stages, the skin will be white and you will likely feel pins and needles in addition to a burning or stinging feeling. Next, blisters can form and the skin becomes hard and shiny. In the advanced stages, the outer skin will turn blue or black and the pain decreases due to damage to nerve tissue. The faster you can get out of the cold and warm the areas, the better your chances are to reduce permanent damage.
Often times, patients will come to the office and report they frequently get cold, pale extremities. Sometimes the tips of the fingers or toes will get bright red even though the rest of the hand or foot is cold and white. This is referred to as Rayanauds, sometimes brought about by previous exposure to frostbite. The best way to be sure is to be evaluated by a podiatrist. And don’t forget to layer up!
Winter is Here… Are Your Feet Ready?!
Now that it is officially wintertime, there are a few things that you should know in regards to your foot health. From conditions that tend to arise in the cold, winter months to treatment and prevention tips – Pedram Hendizadeh, DPM, FACFAS of Advanced Podiatry has your feet covered!
5 Conditions that Present in the Cold Winter Months:
(Click to learn more about these conditions)
General Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy this Winter:
- Keep Feet Dry and Warm- change socks frequently
- Moisturize feet daily, minimize excessive soaking, use a pumice gently
- Use anti-fungal powder for gym sneakers and boots to prevent developing toenail fungus
- Make sure to wear proper foot gear when going out in the snow, feet should be kept warm and dry
- Make sure to wear boots with good traction to avoid slips and falls while outside
- For kids, make sure to try on winter boots and ski boots ahead of time to make sure that they still fit properly, as children’s feet tend to grow from season to season