Are your Feet at Risk for a Cold-Weather Injury?

Most people think of low temperatures when they consider risk factors for a cold-weather injury, and exposure to freezing conditions can certainly lead to problems. Weather factors are not the only hazard you need to keep in mind when you head outside for at this time of year, whether you are headed to work or school, out with friends, running errands, or trying to keep your driveway clear. There are other factors that can make you more susceptible to the effects of the cold and increase your risk of damaging your skin or the deeper tissues.

Factors that Put your Feet at Risk for a Cold-Weather Injury

•   Failure to Wear Proper Footwear

Not everyone who heads outside in the winter wears the right type of footwear for existing weather conditions. Fashion boots are not meant to protect feet during extreme cold or wet conditions. To lower the risk of getting frostbite, wear a good quality pair of boots that is meant to keep feet warm in subzero temperatures.

•   Circulatory Problems or Nerve Damage

If you have a health issue, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, that can cause inadequate blood flow to your legs and feet, you are at higher risk for a cold weather injury. Peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that causes diminished feeling in the feet, will also put you at risk for this type of injury.

•   Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol dilates blood vessels, and it increase heat loss throughout the body once you venture outside after drinking. Since drinking can also impair anyone’s judgment, alcohol use can contribute to staying outside longer than would normally be prudent. The best choice is to enjoy a drink after you have spent time out of doors.

•   Excess Sweat

Someone who is very physically active, such as a person who is shoveling a driveway or exercising vigorously outside in winter, can sweat under their heavy winter clothes. The dampness increases loss of body heat. Wear layers of clothing so you can remove one or more of them if you get too hot and choose fabrics that pull moisture away from your skin.

•   Boots or Socks that are Too Tight or Too Loose

If boots or socks are too tight, they will lead to decreased blood flow. Wearing boots that are too loose leads to winds exposure and heat loss. Your footwear should fit properly without being too constricting.

Be careful when venturing outside in cold weather. If you have any questions or concerns about whether your feet have sustained an injury due to exposure to cold temperatures, arrange an appointment with Toronto podiatrist Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M for a consultation.