5 cold weather foot care tips

As I am writing this, it is a Friday in Mid February, the sun is out, it’s the middle of the afternoon, it looks beautiful…if you can avoid seeing a thermometer. At its peak today, the “feels like” temperature will be somewhere around a balmy 3 degrees!! The forecast for the upcoming weekend is at best more of the same, but also includes some colder weather. That said here are:

5 Tips for Feet and Shoes

during Extreme Cold Weather:

1. Wear good shoes – Be sure your shoes/boots are not only suitable for what you are doing, but also for the conditions you will or could encounter. Choose styles which are warm, breathable, and are waterproof, especially if snow is expected in addition to the sub-zero temperatures. Also keep in mind that no plans to have their car break down, or be stranded. When we have a forecast of several days of extremely cold wCold toeseather, I put a backpack in my car with extra: gloves, hats, hooded sweatshirt, an older extra pair of boots, and an old pair of snow pants.

2. Layer appropriately – Don’t assume that wearing extra socks will keep your feet warmer. Layering socks can be too much of a good thing, especially if you tend to have sweaty feet(you know who you are!). Over layering your socks can cause your feet to overheat and sweat, which means you now have a wet sock, which can actually end up making your feet colder.

3. Keep your shoes and boots in the house – Many of us have been here: you are out shoveling snow, when your done you kick your boots off in the garage at the door to the house and leave them out there. But now what? You need to put your boots on to go out again, and there they are with an internal temperature of about 40 degrees, and that’s wear you are going to put your foot? You are already starting to drop the temperature in your feet, and you have not even put your coat on yet.

4. Be conscience of what you DON’T feel – As your feet are exposed to the cold you can lose sensation, resulting in an even higher risk for issues such as frostbite. Remember if you can’t feel your feet, you don’t know how cold they are!

5. Don’t BURN yourself – Wait, Burn? In extreme cold? Yes, it can happen! If you are out in the cold and lose the feeling in your feet(or hands) do NOT try to restore the feeling by using HOT water. If you can’t feel your feet, how will you know if the water is too hot and burning your skin? Use warm, not hot, water to slowly return the blood flow and feeling to your extremeties. If you cannot recover the color and or feeling in your hands do not wait to seek medical assistance, forstbite is no joke!!

We have got about 5-7 days of quite cold weather, for our area, ahead of us. and it is important to remember that kids and seniors can be impacted by the cold much quicker than a mid 30s active person. So if you have a family member, friend, or neighbor who falls into those categories, check in with them.

Be smart, be prepared, and be safe.

 

Comments

  1. Bronwyn Wilke, DPM says:

    A few more tips to add: Controlling moisture helps feet stay warmer – moisture is a good conductor of temperature. Using antiperspirant spray before putting on shoes and socks and wearing moisture wicking socks helps keep feet dry and warmer.

    Blood circulating from the warm core/center of our bodies is how we warm our extremities. Wearing knee high socks and long underwear helps prevent temperature loss on the long trip down to the feet, helping to keep them warm. This also keeps the whole body warm as colder blood is not heading back up stream to cool the core.

    • Thanks for the additional insights Dr. Wilke! It has never occurred to me to use, or suggest using, an antiperspirant as a means to help keep feet WARM! GREAT TIP!

  2. I think the best thing you can do is have good shoes. I am one whose feet will get sweaty, so layering socks is not good for me. When I have good shoes, the cold is usually not a problem for my feet. The challenge is finding those good shoes.

  3. I agree that if you can’t feel your toes, that’s a bad sign. I have been wearing a special shoe for a toe fracture which has exposed my toes to the cold. Fortunately, I’m wearing a 40 below sock, so it hasn’t been much of a problem. Though I do get a bit concerned when I get home and find that my toes are still purple.

  4. I seem to always have cold feet during the winter, so this was very helpful to me! I never knew that you could burn yourself with using water to warm up. I think that getting some better boots could help. Thanks for this help!

  5. I have always hated skiing because of how cold my feet get. Lately, I have been wearing three pairs of socks to keep my feet warmer, but I now realize that my feet were probably just sweating and then getting more cold! I’ll have to try wearing just one pair of socks next tie to see if that helps at all.

    • Hi Kayla,
      Thanks for your comments! I agree that it could be worth trying one pair of GOOD socks to wear skiing. Having your feet be too warm can definitely be counter productive. Odd as it may sound, when I snowboard, I have more issues with cold feet when the temperature is warmer due to my feet sweating and having wet feet which in turn are cold feet. When choosing a sock be sure they are a thicker, warmer sock with moisture management to pull the moisture from your skin. Hope this helps!
      Jason

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