It's the middle of December, and temperatures outside are below-freezing in many parts of the country. Ugh! Not only is the extreme cold unbearably uncomfortable, but it can lead to frostbite of the toes and feet if you aren't careful about what you wear, and if you don't prepare for lengthy times spent outdoors skiing, hiking, snowboarding, walking, drum circling, sledding, tubing, or whatever you love to do during the winter months. Frostbite is a tissue damage-related injury that occurs when the fingers, toes, or feet become frozen. Frostbite can start to occur very quickly at low temperatures or when there are high winds or precipitation.
If you've been outdoors for a while, check your toes and fingers for signs of frostnip and frostbite. Frostnip is the precursor to frostbite, characterized by red skin and localized pain. The onset of frostbite is called superficial frostbite: the skin can appear white-grey or jaundiced and the toes/feet are numb. If you notice frostnip or superficial frostbite, you are in a little bit of trouble, but treatment can reverse the superficial damage relatively quickly because the tissue has not yet been damaged. If the frostbite progresses, it will eventually become deep frostbite: the change in skin colors is more apparent, the skin feels waxy and is hard/firm to the touch. These are symptoms of tissue damage, which can be permanent. In extreme cases, toes or even the entire foot may require amputation. A few precautions can be taken to keep all ten toes on your feet, and Best Insoles can help! Remember these important facts that will lessen your chance of developing frostbite:
- Wool or synthetic wool socks are much better at keeping your feet warm and dry than cotton in the cold. Cotton absorbs moisture and can actually make your skin colder than the outside temperature.
- Make sure your boots aren't too tight so the feet have room to breathe.
- Wear waterproof boots/shoes.
- Bring extra socks and shoes. If your socks become wet and the shoes are wet throughout, you need to change them as soon as possible.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, as both can increase your body's susceptibility to cold.
- If you notice frostbite and cannot reach a stable environment (a situation in which the skin can refreeze), do not attempt to begin treatment by thawing.
- Frostbite is a serious cold weather-related injury that requires immediate medical attention and rapid re-warming. If you cannot reach a hospital or doctor, thaw out in warm water (not too hot, though, or you may burn yourself). Avoid dry heat like space heaters or heating pads.
You will need proper footwear to keep frostnip and frostbite at bay. Here are some products that we offer at Best Insoles that can save your skin, literally!
- Superfeet Merino White: WOOL insoles.
- Superfeet Men's REDhot or Women's hotPINK: features thermal regulating technology, reduces hot spots and pressure points inside boots.
- Sole Signature EV Ultra Footbed - Winter Insole: Custom fit insole designed to support your foot's unique shape. Offers thickness and ventilation for a snug fit.
- FitFlop Women's Originial Mukluk Chestnut Boot: Lined with sheepskin for extreme warmth and comfort.
- Yaktrax XTR: The best thing you can wear over your boots to prevent snow build-up. Plus, it keeps you from slipping or falling down ravines or areas where you can easily become stranded with one false step.
- Little Hotties: The tailgaiter pack includes hand, feet, and body warmers. These will keep all your parts warm for up to 8 hours!
- DryMax Run Lite-Mesh No Show Tab White/Grey Socks: features two layers made from fabric that keeps feet dry.