As cool weather is starting to arrive, it reminds you that winter will soon be here. That means it is time to put away your sandals and pull out your winter footwear. Unfortunately, the closed toe footwear that winter requires often means that people do not pay as much attention to their feet. Not paying attention could allow several different foot issues to sneak in. Knowing what these conditions are will allow you to handle these conditions promptly and will help you avoid spending part of the winter having to stay off of your feet.
If you can't wait to strap on your ski boots and head off in search of fresh powder, you want to make sure you are taking the proper precautions to avoid skier's toe. This often painful condition is a subungual hematoma, or in layman's terms, bleeding which takes place below the nail. It is easy to identify since your toe nail will often become black and your toe will throb.
Skier's toe can be caused by something as simple as dropping something on your toe or some other type of single trauma. It is commonly caused during the winter by your toe moving back and forth in improper fitting ski boots.
The key to successfully treating skier's toe is to have it treated as quickly as possible after noticing your blackened toe nail. The doctor will usually burn a small hole into your toenail to release the blood that is trapped underneath, clean it, and place a band-aid over it.
Skier's toe is easy to prevent, and prevention is better any day than treatment. Always ensure you have the proper fitting boots, as well as socks. Make sure your socks are pulled up to avoid blisters.
Another condition that can be caused by ill-fitting footwear is Morton's neuroma. This is usually caused by tight fitting footwear squeezing the nerves against the foot's tissues and bones. This condition is most commonly felt in the ball of your foot. You may experience sharp, burning pains, your toes may feel like they are experiencing an electrical current, or even feel numb. You may even have the sensation of having a small rock or pebble underneath your foot.
High-heeled shoes or boots with poor arch support can lead to the development of a neuroma. The position of your foot in a high heel boot can often force your toes into a narrow, or pointed toe box. You can relieve the pressure on your feet by ensuring your footwear is the proper size and width, and by wearing a shoe with a lower heel.
If you are experiencing any type of foot pain, visit a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis. If it is a Morton's neuroma, your doctor may choose to treat it with orthotics, padding, or medications to reduce the inflammation that can continue to cause pressure. If the neuroma is advanced, you may need surgery.
If you are doing a lot of hiking, cross country skiing, or spending time outside in cold damp conditions, you want to ensure you do not develop Immersion Foot, or Trench Foot. This condition is caused by your feet being exposed to damp, cold conditions.
Because of these conditions, the blood vessels in your foot constrict in an effort to keep your feet warm, resulting in a lack of blood flow to your feet. This can cause your feet to feel numb, prickly, or painful. If the condition continues, your feet will swell, and you may begin to feel like they are being stuck with pins and needles. Extreme cases can result in ulcers and blisters, as well as the tissues in your foot beginning to die.
Anytime you are outside for a period of time during the winter, it is important to keep your socks and shoes as dry as you possibly can. When you return inside, dry and warm your feet to improve the circulation. Be aware that if Immersion foot has set in, warming your feet may be painful as the feeling returns to your feet. If you have ulcers or blisters, you need to immediately seek the services of a podiatrist to ensure proper treatment.
Avoid getting Immersion foot by doing the following:
- When possible, always wear clean, dry socks and footwear. Choose socks that are designed with polypropylene to wick the moisture away from your feet.
- Always wear proper fitting footwear, and try to avoid footwear made from synthetic materials.
- Use products that will help to control excessive sweating of your feet. There are numerous products available on the market, but if you have an extreme case, discuss this problem with your foot doctor.
Nobody wants to be laid up or out of commission all winter long due to sore, painful feet. By taking care of them, you will be able to avoid these conditions, as well as many others. For more information, contact a local foot clinic like Advanced Foot Clinic.