Winters in central Jersey are no picnic! Freezing temperatures, ice, snow and slush take their toll on body and mind. At Central Jersey Ankle & Foot Care Specialists we know that winter also brings particular concerns for your feet. Here are some common issues we see at this time of year:
Chilblains—cold temperatures cause blood vessels to constrict. For some people, as the skin warms up after being exposed to the cold and the vessels expand, a small amount of fluid leaks from the vessels into the tissues. This causes inflammation and little swellings to form that are red, itchy and painful. Chilblains most often affect extremities, frequently the toes. It’s not clear why some people are afflicted with chilblains and others are not. It’s best to warm your feet slowly to help avoid this condition.
Ankle Sprains—this is a very common injury when walking in icy parking lots or slushy sidewalks that obscure changes in pavement height. Wear boots or shoes with heavy soles that have a no-slip tread, avoid carrying too many packages which further limits your view and look for areas that have been well cleared and salted when choosing a path to walk to avoid sprains.
Xerosis—while the word is scary looking, the condition is quite simple: overly dry skin. The heat in our homes, offices and cars dries out the air and our skin. Without extra moisturizing, skin on your feet can become flaky and itchy. In extreme cases fissures and cracks can develop which are painful and take a long time to heal.
Athlete’s Foot—fungi love dark, damp places like sweaty boots and shoes. Change your socks as soon as you notice they are damp and take precautions to keep feet from coming in contact with surfaces that have been touched by other people’s feet. When bathing, be sure to dry between your toes because that’s where athlete’s foot usually starts.