If you suffer from chronic cold feet, then it’s important to know how to avoid foot pain during winter weather or when feet get wet and are exposed to the elements. There are many medical reasons for having cold feet and a variety of methods to choose from to keep your feet warm and comfortable. Sometimes feet can feel as if they are frozen, presenting with symptoms similar to frost bite. This can occur from an action as simple as sitting in front of an air conditioning vent in the middle of summer. Resulting foot pain can become incapacitating for some, and threaten a life long debility. Following are some suggestions for keeping your feet warm, healthy and pain free.
Check for medical reasons for foot pain
Visit your health care practitioner
If you suffer from continual bouts of icy cold feet, find out if the cause is related to a medical condition.
Ask the doctor if medicines you might be taking for unrelated illnesses might have side effects including reduced blood flow to limbs. Certain beta blockers for high blood pressure cause this symptom as do many other medications. Ask to try a different medication or natural remedy to avoid side effects.
Keep feet covered
Wear socks and closed shoes! Although it seems obvious, walking around barefoot or in open toed shoes and sandals can aggravate existing symptoms and cause unnecessary discomfort. Even in summer, if you spend a great deal of time in places that are heavily cooled with air conditioning, wearing light weight socks and closed shoes can help avoid foot pain and slow the progression of any medical conditions.
Keep your feet dry
Damp or wet feet are much more prone to becoming cold. If feet become wet, remove shoes and socks, and replace with dry socks and another pair of shoes if necessary.
Stimulate foot circulation
Get up and walk around for a few minutes. While working at a desk, circulation often slows from sitting for long periods of time. Moving around for a few minutes every hour or so will help to increase circulation, protecting feet from pain.
Keep feet warm throughout the year
Wear socks made from natural fibres and if possible, wear 2 layers- this provides insulation and keeps the feet warm. Socks made from natural fibres not only provide warmth, but have strong wicking action that absorbs sweat easily, directing moisture away from feet, keeping them dry. Silk sock liners are thin enough to wear under another pair of socks or in snug fitting shoes and boots.
Wear down booties or sheepskin lined slippers and boots while sitting at the desk to hold warmth in around the feet during cold weather or exposure to drafts from air conditioning vents.
Wear leg warmers to keep lower limbs warm. When ankles and calves get cold, often the feet follow suit and wearing leg warmers helps to avoid foot pain by keeping blood flow more active in the lower legs.
Place a small electric space heater at your desk or by your TV chair. Turn it on and off as needed and direct it toward your feet-BUT not directly on your feet. Using a space heater helps avoid foot pain and also higher heating bills from having to heat an entire room or area of your house. Again, use caution to avoid burning yourself.
Eat warming foods to increase circulation. Spices such as cumin, cayenne pepper and ginger help to open tiny capillaries in the skin and increase circulation, warming feet and reducing painful episodes.
Stop smoking and drinking caffeinated beverages. These products cause the capillaries in the body to constrict, reducing blood flow and causing cold hands and feet.
If your feet get icy cold and won’t warm up in a few minutes by using some or all of the above suggestions, try soaking them in tepid water in the bathtub. Water should not be any warmer than lukewarm and no higher than body temperature. Place feet in water slowly and if it feels too hot, cool water down a bit. Add some Epsom salts and apple cider vinegar to stimulate circulation and soothe aching, painful feet.
For more information on any foot conditions, visit the website: http://www.thepodiatrist.co.nz to make an appointment
Do you suffer from cold hands and feet? As we start getting nearer the winter months (dare I say), there will be many out there with this problem.
The problem is that if you’re a woman, this happens much more easily and dramatically — we do feel the cold more, and it’s all down to hormones.
All of us — men and women — feel cold when our skin gets cold.
Thermo-receptor cells, less than a millimetre below the surface of the skin, are what cause us to experience changes in temperature.
Normally, the skin is kept at a comfortable temperature thanks to blood pumping through the capillaries — tiny, branch-like blood vessels that make up our microcirculation.
But when the thermo-receptors detect cold, they react by causing the capillaries to shut down, diverting blood flow — and warmth — to the heart, lungs and other internal organs. This process is called vasoconstriction.
Incredibly, when we’re cold the amount of blood flowing into the skin in the extremities can become as low as 0.02 litres per minute (the maximum rate is two to three litres per minute).
It’s a bit like placing a blood pressure cuff on the arm.
It’s the hands, face and feet that tend to be coldest and that’s partly because they’re exposed, but it’s also because the body will sacrifice these extremities to keep the internal organs warm.
That’s why our hands turn white, and even blue, in the cold, and why those who survive extremely cold conditions lose fingers and toes to frostbite.
However, in some people — typically women — this process can go haywire, causing their blood vessels to shut down even from a minimal amount of cold.
The blood flow to skin is shut down sooner and more intensely than in men, and afterwards it takes women longer to warm up.
So even though women may feel the cold more than men, it’s their skin temperature — not their core body temperature — that’s colder.
This is partly down to hormones.
In women, the female hormone oestrogen regulates the peripheral blood vessels; high levels of this hormone make them more sensitive to temperature.
As a result, a woman’s temperature will vary during her menstrual cycle as oestrogen levels rise and fall.
It’s suggested this mechanism allows a pregnant woman to ensure her baby is protected from cold, but the causes are still unclear.
There’s also the fact that women have 10 per cent more body fat than men.
Insulation works both ways. The more fat you’ve got, the more you’re defending the inner organs, but it also means you’re stopping heat from reaching the skin.
This phenomenon also explains why women are five times more likely to have Raynaud’s syndrome, a disorder thought to affect women.
It is characterized by extremely cold hands and feet when exposed to the cold — even touching something cold, such as reaching into the freezer.
‘Raynaud’s refers to a wide spectrum of conditions known as vasospastic disorders, which means your microcirculation system is very sensitive. This means that the natural vasoconstriction response to the cold is exaggerated.
It overshoots, so only mild cold causes it to shut down.
Exactly what causes Raynaud’s is unknown, but it can run in families.
The problem can also be triggered by auto-immune conditions such as arthritis and lupus — when it’s known as secondary Raynaud’s.
In a Raynaud’s attack, the capillaries temporarily go into spasm and the blood supply to the extremities is so severely interrupted that the fingers change colour, going white then blue as the supply of oxygenated blood is cut off.
When heat is restored, the hands may swell up and become red and painful as the blood flow returns.
Cold sets it off, but it can be triggered by many things, such as smoking — because nicotine shuts down circulation — and emotion or anxiety, because adrenaline diverts the blood to the muscles.
If you become cold and the blood flow shifts from the peripheries of the body to the centre, the body reacts by getting rid of some fluid to make room for the increased blood volume.
This is why you’ll find that after standing in the cold for a while you’re bursting to go to the loo.
However, all these fluid shifts also increase the likelihood of clotting, and researchers think that may result in the increased cardiac problems.
Cold hands and feet can occasionally be a sign of something more sinister — the blood flow in your body may be interrupted because a vein or artery in the leg has become furred up by fatty deposits, a condition known as peripheral arterial disease.
But here the cold feet tend to be accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain in the arms or legs during exercise (because not enough blood and oxygen is reaching the muscles.
If you’re young and you just get cold feet, you’re probably at the very mild end of the spectrum of Raynaud’s.
So, apart from layering up, what’s the best way to stay warm?
The experts are unanimous in their answer: light exercise. This restores blood flow to the muscles and skin.
Most people have problems in winter because they stop exercising. If you cycle to work or jog while it’s cold, it takes four or five minutes to start to warm up.
Contact The Podiatrist for any foot related concerns.
You are only given 1 pair and they have to last a lifetime.
Whether you’re taking a sightseeing trip, walking the dog, or traipsing along in your favorite pair of heels, your feet can get a lot of wear and tear during this time of year — as well as year-round.
But unless there’s pain, most people in general don’t really pay a lot of attention to their foot health.
Here are 13 mistakes to watch out for:
• Wrong footwear: The biggest problem that I see when patients come to see me with foot problems is they’re wearing the wrong shoe, such as jandals, or the wrong size of shoe.
The right shoe varies from person to person and depends on such factors as whether the individual has flat feet or high arches, or a disease, such as diabetes, that can affect foot health.
For diabetics, The Podiatrist can prescribe special shoes which tend to be seamless and deeper than regular shoes.
Diabetics need to be careful with their feet because people with the disease often have circulation problems and a difficult time feeling pain in their feet. That makes them susceptible to ulcers and open wounds that can lead to infections and amputations. A lot of diabetics, they would like to get in their sandals and shoes and not wear their diabetic shoes, but that’s where they get into trouble.
• Failing to try on new shoes: A lot of times you will see a pretty shoe and you just grab it and you go. Make sure you try the shoe on. Make sure you walk around in the store. Make sure that you get it properly fitted and have the right cushion or insole in the shoe and that you seek medical attention when you experience foot problems, instead of letting any problems linger.
• Not taking good care of shoes: Especially if you’re a runner, don’t let your shoes get too old, and mind the weather. Leaving shoes in a hot car is enough to make the rubber materials not function properly.
• Wearing jandals: With a jandal type of shoe, people have to grasp with their toes, and their foot can come out of the shoe. The grasping process can cause pain all the way up into the leg.
• Going barefoot: This is generally a bad idea because the feet need support and padding. There’s also the danger of stepping on a sharp object or breaking a toe, People with neuropathy (nerve damage) in their feet could get injured without even knowing it. Also, despite the introduction of minimalist running shoes that are supposed to be similar to going barefoot, not a lot of people can tolerate such lack of cushioning.
• Wearing sky-high shoes: When you wear a very high heel, there’s a lot of pressure on the base of the toes which can lead to pain and calluses.
The Podiatrist recommends not wearing high heels for any extended amount of walking. Any time you go much higher than 2 ½ inches, it’s very unnatural on the ankle and the foot and throws the weight forward so much that it’s easier to fall and turn your ankle.
• Wearing shoes that are too flat: Ballet flats tend to be too low, and most people feel better in a shoe with at least a little bit of a heel and some cushioning. The sole of the shoe needs to be firm. If the sole of the shoe is too soft, your foot is going to bend a lot and there will be a lot of weight on the ball of the foot.
• Not examining the feet: The Podiatrist recommends every six months for diabetics to have their (feet) examined. When they do come in, we do a thorough circulation exam. We do a thorough neurological exam and examine their feet and examine their shoes … and if we identify any complications or any problems, then we let them know how to manage it.
Checking your own feet is a good idea, too. Briefly each day, examine the bottom of your feet to make sure there’s nothing going on, especially if you’re diabetic, Ahmed said. You can use a makeup mirror or a long-handled mirror.
• Failing to address medical conditions: With diabetics, if you don’t have your sugars under control, you are not going to heal an ulcer no matter what you do to it.
Heart disease and weight problems also can affect foot health.
• Being obese: Obesity can contribute to foot deformities, with extra pressure on the ankle joints, there’s more pressure on the smaller joints of the foot, which are fragile. People will get more flat feet. People will tend to get more bunion pain, more hammer toes. They also can develop plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the ligament on the bottom of the feet, he said. If people lose at least 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, their symptoms usually resolve on their own.
Obesity also is affecting the size of people’s feet. A lot of shoe companies do not make wide varieties, and with the increasing rate of obesity in our country, people are getting wider feet.
• Standing too much: Plantar fasciitis is really worsened by standing a lot in one place. If you have to do that, you should try to shift your weight from side to side and consider purchasing over-the-counter arch support, a plastic piece that goes under the arch.
• Being a weekend warrior: Many people who are sedentary during the week will get involved in physical activity, such as golfing and running, on weekends and wind up with ankle sprains and pain. They’ll try to do all of these things that they’re not used to doing, so their ankle will get sprained. Stretching before and after exercise and having a regular regimen of working out so that you’re not just going from zero to 60.
• Allowing moisture to hang around: Beware of fungal infections. Fungus loves moisture and fungus is everywhere; the spores are in the air. If your feet are kept moist enough, fungus will start growing, so change your socks more often, keep them dry and don’t put wet shoes on. Try to rotate shoes so you don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row.
For more any problems, visit The Podiatrist
All of us have experienced tired and aching feet at one point or another, especially after long periods of dancing, shopping, walking or standing. As we age, the incidence of tired and aching feet become much more frequent and prolonged. Research has shown that fallen foot arches, or what is described in podiatric terms as over-pronated flat feet, causes a person to use more energy when walking, resulting in greater fatigue at the end of a day than people with normal feet. Strenuous walking or standing for long periods has an obvious effect on your feet. Other factors include ill fitting, poorly padded shoes, tight socks or stockings and tight garters. Reduced blood circulation to the ankles and feet also causes tired aching feet.
Contributing factors to tired and aching feet
There are multiple factors that contribute to the development of tired and aching feet:
• Age: as we age, the natural thick pad on the soles of our feet begin to thin. Additionally, our feet widen and flatten, and the skin on our feet also becomes drier. In some cases, foot pain in older people may be the first sign of arthritis, diabetes, and circulatory disease.
• Gender: Women are at higher risk than men for severe foot pain, especially women who wear high-heeled shoes. As a result, severe foot pain is a major cause of general disability in older women. Pregnant women have an increased risk of aching feet due to weight gain, swelling in their feet and ankles, and the release of certain hormones that cause ligaments to relax.
• Dehydration: your feet have approximately 250,000 sweat glands, and can excrete as much as a quarter of a litre of moisture each day. Therefore, it is important to remember to drink plenty of water, throughout the day.
Treatment and relief for tired, aching feet
• Lie on the floor and put your feet up on a couch or bed for about 15-20 minutes. This is a way of clearing the lymph modes and the water retention, which is a fairly common and very likely cause for aching feet.
• Soak your feet in Tea Tree Oil in warm water either in a basin or you can use a foot spa if you have one. Peppermint oil is good for the feet and has a soothing affect. Or use a good foot cream to relax your feet.
• Wear orthotic insoles in your shoes. Orthotics control over-pronation and support your arches, taking away one of the major causes of tired, aching feet!
• Have your feet massaged regularly
• Exercising your feet can help to keep them healthy. It tones your muscles, helps to strengthen the arches, and stimulates blood circulation. Here are some foot exercises:
1. Rise on your tiptoes: Stand with feet parallel. While holding on to a steady piece of furniture for support, rise slowly up and down on your tiptoes. This exercises the leg muscles and helps strengthen the foot muscles.
2. Extend the sole of your foot while sitting down. Extend and stretch the foot in as straight a line with the leg as possible.
3. Rotate the feet while sitting. Extend feet one at a time and rotate slowly at the ankle, as if trying to draw the largest circle possible with the big toe. Do this first in one direction, then the other.
4. Move your toes: Remain sitting with feet resting on the floor. Move the toes up and down. This will decrease internal rotation of the legs and the stretching on the leg muscles, thereby reducing tired, aching legs.
The Podiatrist is an expert for all your foot problems.
As the cold weather approaches, I thought it a good idea to give you some tips on keeping your feet healthy.
It is important to keep your feet clean and as dry as you can. However, the sole of the foot contains thousands of sweat glands so feet which have been kept hidden away in winter shoes and boots during cold and rainy days are prone to problems because warm, dark moist places encourage such as
athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections and verrucas. On top of this, bacteria that cause smelly feet flourish on warm, moist skin.Make sure your shoes and
socks are made from natural fibres and try and let your feet ‘breathe’ as much as possible.
The simplest way to deal with sweaty feet is to use a foot powder or antiperspirant. However, this may be insufficient in some people who have truly
sweaty feet and have a condition called hyperhidrosis.
Scaly, itchy feet can be due to athlete’s foot and it is actually quite common for this to be resistant to treatment with the standard
over-the-counter preparations. If this is the case you should see you GP as oral medications may be required. Make sure that you treat your socks and shoes with powder as well as these can harbour the fungus and cause re-infection.
Staying on your feet and keeping them warm go a long way toward enjoying outdoor winter activities. Over-layering your feet will cause them to sweat, which can lead to cold toes. For cardiovascular-based sports, a single pair of warm, wicking socks will normally do. In very cold conditions or for gravity-based sports, use a double layer of socks.
Avoiding frost bite and hypothermia is the most important consideration when preparing for cold weather activities. Make sure all of your skin is covered and carry an extra layer in case the conditions change during your workout.
Keep in mind also, that your legs and trunk tend to stay warmer than your hands and head. A pair of gloves, mittens, or socks over your hands can make a big difference in your comfort level, as can a headband, stocking hat or hooded sweatshirt. Usually, a single pair of athletic socks is sufficient, as your feet benefit from frictional heat during walking and running. The choice between tights and sweatpants is largely a matter of personal preference. As temperatures decrease, I recommend the following progression of upper body attire.
The Dr Comfort range of socks are designed and manufactured with your foot health in mind. They’re perfect for people living with diabetes, arthritis, edema, neuropathy and circulation issues. They’re available in a range of men’s and women’s sizes. And the dye in our colored socks doesn’t bleed out of the fabric, reducing your risk of foot infection.
Why Nano Bamboo Charcoal Fibers?
Nano Bamboo Charcoal Fibers release Far Infrared Rays that may promote blood circulation and anion production, which has health benefits. Nano Bamboo Charcoal is also a natural deodorizer. It’s a sustainable, chemical-free way to take care of your feet.
Why not come in and try on a pair for yourself?
Keep warm and stay healthy.