In the warmer weather of the spring and summer, it’s easy to spot issues with our feet. Besides the fact that many of us wear open sandals for much of the better weather, we also like to indulge in pedicures, giving us the opportunity to see our feet and nails up close, helping us spot something that might be troublesome, such as discolored nails, or painful ingrown toenails.
In the winter, our feet are mostly covered by socks, shoes, and boots and often by less flexible footwear such as ski boots or skates. Many people do not want to give up their fitness routines in the winter so their feet can end up being pinched, squished and injured in their boots or shoes.
Most of the feet issues that arise from winter activities are circulation oriented, such as chilblains and Raynaud’s Phenomenom. Chilblains are red swollen areas of the toes, than comes from when our toes get cold and then heated too quickly. Blood leaks into the tissue of the toes, making them red, swollen and itchy. While these mostly cause a period of discomfort they can also become ulcers or infected if they are aggravated or if the skin cracks. The best way to protect against chilblains is to keep your feet warm, wearing warm socks under well-fitting footwear and letting your feet warm slowly and gently when they do get too cold. Raynaud’s Phenomenon is similar to chilblains but the result is more severe with more pain and blistering. Sudden changes in temperature are often the worst culprit so be sure to wear warm socks and keep an eye on your toes. As with any circulation issues, diabetics need to be especially aware.
Skier’s toe and Morton’s neuroma are another 2 common issues that come from winter. Skier’s toe is when your shoes or boots are too tight against your toes and cause trauma to the nail. If you see a black toenail get it checked by your Chiropodist, they will ensure it is not serious, treat it and counsel you on how to avoid further issues. Morton’s neuroma is also caused by your footwear being too tight, but it is a pinching of the nerves, which will cause numbness, burning and tingling. If the condition is not treated and relieved it can cause permanent nerve damage.
Of course there is the regular issue of blisters. Blisters can be very painful and can lead to infection if not treated. The best cure is prevention with proper fitting shoes and socks, avoiding the issue of blisters if at all possible. If blisters do arise, protect the fragile skin under the blister until it is fully formed and no longer causes pain when touched.