Temperatures are dropping and with the cold winter weather comes some foot problems that you should be aware of. At Great Neck Family Foot Care we want our patients to be proactive in taking care of their feet. Here are the top 4 foot concerns associated with cold weather and what you can do about them:
- Ankle Sprains/Strains—Icy steps, driveways, and sidewalks means a greater likelihood of twisting ankles. Proper footwear is the best way to prevent an injury. Go for the low-heeled boots and bring your heels to change into when you get where you are going. If you do twist your ankle, follow the RICE regimen—rest, ice, compression, elevation—until you can make it in to see one of our podiatrists, Alec Hochstein, D.P.M. or Diana Gagliano, D.P.M. All ankle sprains need medical attention to ensure proper treatment for quick recovery and to prevent future injuries.
- Dry Skin—Dry winter air and heated homes and offices lead to dry skin. On the feet, dry skin can develop cracks which are painful and can also be the entry point for bacteria to start an infection. This is especially dangerous if you are a patient with diabetes. A thick moisturizer can help keep skin hydrated. Try slathering on at night and wearing cotton socks to bed to help the cream get absorbed into the skin.
- Frostnip/Frostbite—Skin damage to toes and feet can occur with prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, wind, or wet and cold conditions. Frostbite and frostnip can happen even if the temperature is above freezing. Signs to look for include: tingling, numbness, changes in the color of the skin. Frostnip is a very mild form of Frostbite. Skin usually turns pale and may have ice crystals on it. Warm the skin in warm—not hot—water and the symptoms should go away. With frostbite, the skin may turn white or yellowish in color and feel numb. Frostbite involves damage to the skin tissue and require immediate medical attention.
- Fungal Infections—Other conditions we commonly see in our Great Neck office during the winter months are skin infections, like Athlete’s Foot and fungal toenails. In the cold weather, feet spend more time in heavy socks and shoes wear sweating can occur, creating the perfect dark, moist environment for fungal and bacterial infections. Be sure to wash and dry feet daily and change your socks if they become damp from perspiration. Your foot doctor may prescribe an anti-fungal foot powder or cream if infections are recurring.
Whatever the season, if you have concerns about your feet, toes, or ankles, contact our office by calling: (516) 482-5999 for an evaluation sooner rather than later. Most foot problems have better outcomes and can be treated with more conservative methods if diagnosed in their earliest stages.