Posts for: January, 2015
Most of us have drawers full of mismatched socks of all sizes, shapes, and colors. But even though we may have a lot of socks, we have very few of the “right” kind of socks. We’ve paid very little attention to the material of the sock and have ended up with mostly cotton socks. Unfortunately, in the winter this can be quite a problem, in fact cotton socks could just be your foot’s worst enemy in the winter.
Many people aren’t aware of the importance of a quality winter sock. Socks affect your feet in many different ways; everything from infections, to fungi, to blisters, and your toenails are directly affected by the type of socks that you wear on a daily basis.
Insulation is extremely important when choosing the type of sock you are going to wear in the winter. Cotton socks fail to keep your feet insulated and no matter how thick they are, they do very little to combat the cold. Instead of keeping out moisture, cotton socks soak in and retain moisture. The socks then actually expand and become loose on your feet.
The type of socks that are guaranteed to help keep your feet warm are socks made of natural fiber blends such as wool, cashmere, or sheepskin. Natural fibers will keep the body well-insulated, as they would for an animal.
The socks that you wear should fit well and be thicker than the everyday sock. Should your socks become moist, it is imperative to change out of these as soon as possible.
At DM Foot & Ankle Associates, Dr. Emini and I see many problems that can be avoided by simply wearing the right type of socks and shoe gear. So take control of your foot health today and start buying the right kind of socks and shoes for the cold winter weeks ahead!
BY: Michelle Kim
Most people aren’t aware that there is a proper way to shovel. Well there is, and the technique that you use to shovel snow could either make or break your back! We’ve already had a few heavy snows this winter; make sure you’re prepared for the next time we get hit. Here are some quick tips from Dr.Kim and I that could save you a whole lot of trouble next time it snows.
First, the gear that you wear and use is important. Make sure you wear shoes or boots with good treads on the bottom to avoid slipping on ice and that your shoe gear is well insulated to keep your feet warm. Also, it is important to invest in a good pair of moisture wicking socks. In regards to your shovel, make sure that you are using the right type of shovel. You want to use a shovel with a small lightweight, plastic blade and a curved or adjustable handle so that you aren’t straining your back bending over.
Secondly, warm up. It’s not just for the gym, a good warm up will get your blood pumping and make sure that your body is ready to go face the cold and start shoveling. Once you start, it is essential that you are using the proper posture.
- Make sure you have a good foot stance: One foot facing ahead, one facing to the side
-NEVER use your back, but instead use your legs as much as possible.
- Don’t twist your upper body, try to pivot instead.
-Do small loads of snow at a time
-Push, rather than lift
Next time the snow is being stubborn and sticking around, make sure you know how to handle it in the most safe and efficient way. At DM Foot & Ankle, we want to make sure that body isn’t compromised just so that you can have a clean driveway, so be sure to incorporate these techniques and shovel safely!
Here in Chicago (aka Chiberia), we need to keep all of our body parts covered up during these single digit climates. These include hats for our heads, scarves for our necks, gloves for our hands, and socks for our feet.
At DM Foot & Ankle, Dr. Emini and I try to keep our patients informed about how to keep their feet warm. Last week we discussed two winter foot woes - frostbite and chillblains. This week we will discuss best ways to prevent these conditions.
The most important aspects include two major factors: first is keeping your feet warm, and second is keeping them dry.
The best way to keep feet warm are to wear socks made of natural fiber blends such as wool, cashmere, or sheepskin. Natural fibers will keep the body well-insulated, as they would for an animal. The socks should fit well and be thicker than the everyday sock. Should your socks become moist, it is imperative to change out of these as soon as possible.
In terms of shoes, make sure to wear a pair of shoes or boots that are waterproof and also insulated. Again, boots lined with natural fibers such as sheepskin are a perfect fit for the winter. Make sure to add your orthotics for added support!
If your feet are prone to sweat, or if your fingers and toes tend to get cold very easily, you are at a higher risk for frostbite and chillblains. At any point in this frosty weather, if you are planning to be outside for more than ten minutes, keep those feet as warm as you can. These socks and boots are a vital investment to protect your toes. Stay warm, everyone!
By: Michelle Kim
You know it’s officially a Chicago winter when you look at the thermostat and the reading says… zero degrees! When temperatures are this low, we need to protect ourselves from different cold weather injuries. The toes are extremely susceptible to the following conditions because they are the furthest from the heart and have the least access to the circulation in the body.
1) FROSTBITE: This is when your skin literally freezes. It starts on the outer layer of your skin and penetrates deeper and deeper into your tissues. If just the outside skin gets frozen, the damage is reversible and is called frostnip. If it gets deeper, the frostbite can start freezing off your blood vessels, nerves, muscles, and bone. This damage can be irreversible, and the body parts that die off may need to be removed.
2) CHILLBLAINS: This odd term is another reaction the body can have to the cold. Small, red, and itchy bumps will appear on the cold exposed parts. These can become painful or turn into blisters. We actually saw a fair number of people in the office last winter with this condition. Most of these people did not even work outdoors, yet they developed this cold toe woe. The common themes we saw were people whose feet were prone to sweat. Sweaty feet in the cold is similar to your feet being submerged in an ice pond, which is not a good combination.
Stay tuned to our blog next week to see how to best keep those toes warm during these arctic times.
BY: DIANA EMINI