David Weiss, DPM
Don’t get cold feet
As the seasons change and the weather cools there are ways to protect your feet for the unique challenges this upcoming season. As we transition from summer foot gear like flip flops and crocs to more wintry shoe gear there are many things to keep in mind. I hope that this advice goes a long way in protecting your feet during the fall and winter seasons.
The first thing to keep in mind is that shoes are heavier as they become warmer in general.
Boots tend to add weight to your foot gear. As materials evolve the weight may go down but the manufacturers can’t make them that light as compared to flip flops. Many patients will wear Ugg type boots which provide great warmth but poor support. That is a tradeoff that must be made. I do not recommend wearing these boots for long walks as I would more supportive winter shoes. There is warm weather gear that allows for ambulation better than the Ugg type boots. These tight shoes can also exacerbate problems like bunions in the shoegear that for the summer has been unpressured.
As the temperature drops worries about frost bite emerge. As hunting season and snow walking season emerge, I caution patients to wear warm weather socks and keep feet warm. Heat packs can be purchased if you are out for a time in the elements. Keeping your feet dry is the most important thing that you can do.
Frostbite is a condition that worsens with exposure. If frostbite occurs, I recommend rewarming first. This needs to be done slowly as quick treatment with a hot bath is not recommended as first line care. Blankets and subsequent warm water baths are the first line treatments. Pain medications may be required with severe symptoms. More severe cases may require wound care and need for surgical management which is unusual for this climate. Antibiotics are needed if infection occurs.
I do become concerned for my diabetic patients in the winter months as cold weather can lead to vaso-constriction of blood vessels that can deprive feet of blood. It is imperative for diabetics to look at feet daily because of this. Moisture can develop in the shoes leading to fungal infections that diabetics are more susceptible to. Lastly, dry skin can develop as a result of baseboard heat and a moisturizer is recommended.
During these colder months make sure you transition well into these new conditions. Be careful as the cold can be a problem for some patients. If problems occur do not hesitate to call the office for care.
David Weiss, DPM, is the owner of Weiss Foot & Ankle Center located at 777 South White Horse Pike, Suite D1 in Hammonton. For more information or to make an appointment, call 561-2488 or visit weissfootandankle.com.