Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Protecting your feet in slush and ice

Today, after a night of snow, sleet, and ice, we have wet, slippery conditions on the roads and sidewalks in Chicagoland. These conditions can, obviously, leads to slips and falls when people are trying to go to work, school, or run their errands. Take care when moving around outside by wearing boots or shoes with good tread on the bottoms to try to stabilize the foot when walking on uneven or slick surfaces. Additionally, the heel and ankle portions of your boots or shoes should be solid and supportive to make the ankle more secure. Compressive and flexible shoegear makes it much easier to loose your balance and fall. Be safe, and have a great day! oakparkpodiatry.com

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Winter Running and your FEET

I treat athletes all year long. However, winter running presents its own challenges in Chicagoland. First, the feet should be warm and dry when running in the winter, not only for comfort but also to prevent cold injuries (like frostbite). Thus, our sock and shoe choices are important in the winter. Socks should wick moisture away from the feet. Wool, polyester, and Dry-Max or Cool-Max technologies are incorporated into a lot of popular running socks. Wicking socks are the best choice and can minimize the risk of warts and Athlete's Foot (both of which thrive in warm, moist environments like our sweaty socks and shoes). Cotton socks do not pull moisture away and are not the best choice for winter running as the foot can become moist and cold. Some runners like to wear two pairs of socks when running in the winter, but this can affect shoe fit. Doubling the socks and making the shoe tighter may increase the risk of blisters, numbness/burning, and pain. Thus, if you prefer to do this, make sure you have a specific shoe that can accommodate the addition of a second sock. Next, shoes need to have good support to stabilize the foot when running in ice and snow. Trail type running shoes are a good choice for the irregular surfaces that winter runners may encounter as they have better traction for the varied surfaces. Additionally, their construction offers more support and stability, as off road runners need the foot to be stable in the shoe (with less slippage). These shoes tend to have a better and more secure fit in the heel and a wider toe box. Mesh shoes should be avoided in the winter, as they are not as warm. The next blog will focus on common foot injuries that happen with Winter Running! oakparkpodiatry.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cold Temperatures and the FEET

My office will be closed tomorrow, 1/30/19 and possibly 1/31/19, due to the extreme cold temperatures. With these record breaking cold temperatures, exposed skin can develop frostbite in 5-10 minutes. The skin and tissues under it actually freeze, and this can result in long term complications: nerve damage, ulcerations, infection, gangrene, loss of limbs, and loss of life. The toes (along with the fingertips, ears, and nose) are prime areas that can develop frostbite. This is of great concern for our homeless population, as many of these people walk or stand outside for prolonged periods of time. When I treated patients at Pacific Garden Mission, I saw several cases of frostbite each year. However, anyone who spends too much time out in these cold temperatures can also develop frostbite. For example, if your car breaks down, if you are walking to work, or waiting for the bus, you may be exposed to the frigid air for too long. The exposed areas of skin can feel initially very cold and have numbness and burning. As the condition persists, the skin will feel harder and change colors (purple, blue, red, grey, white). After rewarming, blisters can appear, along with pain. More serious frostbite can result in loss of sensation, difficulty moving, large blisters with rewarming, and tissue loss. If you feel that you have frostbite, please report to the nearest ER. Certain populations are more prone to frostbite: people with chronic disease, neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, mental illness, people with a history of frostbite, smokers, and alcoholics. As mentioned, however, anyone who is exposed to the cold weather for too long can develop frostbite, even when perfectly healthy. What can you do to be safe? Stay inside during these cold temperatures, either at your home or at a warming center. Other tips: wear several layers of clothes, wear socks that wick moisture away (not cotton), wear waterproof boots or shoes, wear warm mittens, avoid alcohol, and keep moving if outside. Again, if you feel like you have developed frostbite, report to the ER! Please visit oakparkpodiatry.com to schedule an appointment.