why do my toes hurt in the winter
Chilblains are small, itchy swellings on the skin that occur as a reaction to cold temperatures. They most often affect the body's extremities, such as the toes, fingers, heels, ears and nose. ChilblainsPcan bePuncomfortable, but rarely cause any permanent damage. PThey normally heal within a few weeks ifPfurther exposure to the cold is avoided. ChilblainsPusually develop several hours after exposure to the cold. TheyPtypically cause a burning and itching sensation in the affected areas, whichPcan become more intense if you go into a warm room. The affected skin may also swell and turn red or dark blue. In severe cases, the surface of the skin may break and sores or
can develop. P It's importantPnot to scratch the skin as it can break easily and become infected. Most people don't need to seek medical advice if they have chilblains as they usually heal within a few weeks and don't cause any permanent problems. You should also seek medical advice if you think your skin may have become infected. a high temperature (fever)Pof 38C (100. 4F) or above What causes chilblains? Chilblains are the result ofPan abnormal reaction to the cold. PThey're common in the UKPbecause damp, cold weather is usual in the winter. Some people develop chilblains that last for several monthsPevery winter. When the skin is cold, blood vessels near its surface get narrower. PIf the skin is then exposed to heat, the blood vessels become wider. If this happens too quickly, blood vessels near the surface of the skin can't always handle the increased blood flow. This can cause blood toPleak into the surrounding tissue, which may cause thePswelling and itchiness associated with chilblains. Some people are more at risk of chilblains than others. regular exposure to cold, damp or draughty conditions PPa common condition that affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body, usually the fingers and toes People who smoke are more at risk of chilblains as nicotine constricts blood vessels.
Chilblains can also occur on areas of the feetPexposed to pressure, such as aP or a toe that's squeezed by tight shoes. Chilblains often get better on their own after a week or twoPwithout treatment. It may help to use a soothing lotion, such as calamine or witch hazel, to relieve itching. Your pharmacist may also be able to recommend a suitable product. If your chilblains are severe and keep returning, speak to your GP. They may recommend taking a daily tablet or capsule of a medication called nifedipine. This works by relaxing the blood vessels, improving your circulation. P Nifedipine can be used to help existing chilblains heal, or can be taken during the winter toPstopPthem developing. If you're susceptible to chilblains, you canPreduce your risk of developing themPby: If your skin gets cold, it's important to warm it up gradually. Heating the skin too quicklyPPfor example, by placing your feet in hot water or near a heaterPPis one of the main causes of chilblains. P Pnicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict, which can make chilblains worse keep active wear warm clothes and insulate your hands, feet and legs wearing long johns, long boots, tights, leg warmers or long socks will help, and it's a good idea to wear a clean pair of socks if you get cold feet in bed avoid tight shoes and boots moisturise your feet regularlyP eat at least one hot meal during the day this will help warm your whole body, particularly in cold weather warm your shoes on the radiator before you put them on make sure damp shoes are dry before you wear them; if your feet are already cold, make sure your shoes aren't too hot to avoid causing chilblains warm your hands before going outdoors soak them in warm water for several minutes and dry thoroughly, and wear cotton-lined waterproof gloves if necessary;Pif yourPhands are already cold, make surePnot to warm them up too quickly to avoid causing chilblains keep your house well heatedP if you're diabetic, regularly check yourPfeet (or ask someone else to do this) If you havePseverePor recurring chilblains, there's a small risk of further problems developing, such as: not directly overheating the chilblains (by using hot water, for example) You can also help reduce your risk of infection byPcleaning any breaks in your skin with antiseptic and covering the area withPan antiseptic dressing.
The dressing should be changed every other day until the skin heals. P If the skin does become infected, may be prescribed to treat the infection. Winter sports can be exhilarating, whether you re sledding downhill, skiing or simply walking through the snow. To get the most out of winter activities, you ll want to guard against these five foot problems, which at the least can make you uncomfortable, and at the worst, may sideline you for weeks, according to IPFH Scientific Advisory Board member. 1. /Dry Skin : This is the most common cold weather foot complaint, particularly among men. Also called heel fissures, the cracks look unsightly and, if deep enough, can be painful when you re on your feet. The simplest way to help prevent heel cracks and other areas of dry skin on your feet is to apply moisturizing cream, especially after a shower. But that may not be enough. Shoes or boots with solid heel counters can help prevent heel cracks, as can that cushion the heels from impacts that may increase pressure in the heel area.
If and hard skin develop on the heels, you can use a pumice stone to reduce the thickness. Don t attempt this if you have diabetes, however; trying to smooth the skin with a pumice stone or razor can increase the risk of infection. Instead, ask a or dermatologist to do it for you. 2. : Many people think athlete s foot is a problem only in the summer, when moisture sets the stage for this fungal infection. But the condition also can occur in the winter, especially when you layer up with a couple of pairs of all-cotton or all-wool socks in your shoes. This sets the stage for sweaty feet that can t breathe, which can lead to athlete s foot plus a bacterial infection on top of it. You can prevent this problem by wearing socks made of acrylic blends or acrylic-wool blends, which wick moisture away from the feet and toes. This is particularly important for winter runners and anyone who engages in high-impact outdoor activities. 3. : Of course, you can get a blister at any time of the year, but two factors make it particularly likely you ll get one in the winter. One is winter sports gear rentals especially skates or ski boots. It s often difficult to find just the right fit, and if the skate or boot is even a tad too loose at the heel, for example, the friction that results from your foot sliding around can lead to a blister. Another factor is holiday shopping you spend more time on your feet than usual, and suddenly shoes that were comfortable enough for a few hours of light wear reveal stress points over the course of a full day of shopping and carrying packages. You can help prevent blisters by wearing padded socks to fill in gaps in an otherwise loose-fitting rental boot.
As for shopping, make sure you wear shoes that fit properly, easily accommodating padded socks and any recommended insert or orthotic. Think about proper fit when buying new shoes and boots, and keep our in mind when trying on rentals. 4. : No matter what winter sport you engage in, be sure to train properly before starting out so you can maintain good form and reduce the chances of slipping, twisting an ankle and falling. Skiers, skaters and snowboard enthusiasts are particularly prone to accidents that may result in a fractured ankle or metatarsal. Running or simply walking on uneven surfaces, especially those with patches of ice, also increase the risk of a foot fracture. Here again, wearing properly fitted shoes or boots with padded socks can reduce the risks by ensuring that the feet are optimally protected. Also consider the use of ice grips or traction devices that can easily attach to the bottoms of shoes or boots and help prevent slipping on icy surfaces. 5. : Foot pain has multiple causes and can happen any time, anywhere. But if you want to stay active during the cold weather and avoid being sidelined by pain or discomfort, be sure to see your doctor or a if pain lasts more than a couple of days and has no obvious cause. Although not a substitute for a visit to a health professional, you might first try our to get some ideas of what might be causing your pain and what to do about it. Also note that if you are an avid outdoor sports enthusiast who spends long periods in the cold, or if you have or, which can compromise circulation to the legs/feet, you may be at risk for frostbite. Learn more from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:.
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