With winter temperatures approaching fast, it's important that you are prepared to protect yourself against injuries caused by the cold. Feet are especially susceptible to cold-weather injury, since they are exposed to moisture and the elements throughout the day.
There are three primary types of cold-weather injuries that you need to be watching for as you care for your feet this winter.
Exposure to cold temperatures, moisture, and a lot of wind can lead to the development of a cold-weather injury known as chilblains. Chilblains manifest as red, rough, and swollen skin on the feet.
Sometimes little red bumps can form when a person is affected by chilblains. These bumps can ulcerate, leading to severe discomfort. Chilblains is a common injury seen in alpine skiers during the winter months.
Just because outdoor temperatures drop doesn't mean that certain activities come to an end. Construction workers, commercial fishermen, and hunters all spend a significant amount of time outdoors during the winter months.
Prolonged exposure to the cold temperatures and moisture associated with winter weather can lead to the development of an injury referred to as trench foot. When affected by trench foot, the skin on the foot appears white or blue in color. The feet usually swell as a result of trench foot as well. A permanent sensitivity to the cold can develop in severe cases of trench foot.
Frostbite is the most severe form of cold-weather injury your feet can sustain. The tissues within the body contain water, which means that they can freeze when exposed to cold temperatures for too long.
Frozen tissue can become permanently damaged. Frostbite can result in the need to amputate a toe, or even a whole foot in severe cases. Recovering from frostbite can be challenging, but medical professionals can use advanced techniques to try and restore viability to the affected tissue.
Cold-weather injuries to the feet can easily be prevented. Be sure that you are wearing waterproof footwear to help keep moisture away from your feet while spending time outdoors during the winter months.
Your socks should be made of synthetic fibers instead of cotton, since cotton is absorbent and can actually contribute to the development of a cold-weather foot injury. Wear multiple pairs of socks when necessary to keep your feet nice and warm. Being proactive in preventing cold-weather injuries will help you avoid permanent damage to the tissue in your feet in the future.
Contact a clinic, like Laurel Podiatry Associates, LLC, for more help.