Posts for tag: frostbite

By Dr. Michelle Kim
January 15, 2015
Category: Uncategorized




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

By Dr. Diana Emini
January 07, 2015
Category: Uncategorized



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.



The polar vortex and temperatures far below zero are being stubborn and sticking around, so like it or not, there's sure to be plenty of cold days ahead this winter. Those keeping an eye on the news during this winter's Arctic-style weather may have heard warnings about how quickly frostbite can set in.

As podiatrists at DM Foot and Ankle, Dr. Michelle Kim and I know that frostbite can often target the feet (the hands, ears and nose are also commonly effected.)

Frostbite happens when the skin and body tissues are exposed to cold temperatures. When exposed to extreme cold temperatures like we've had this winter, It can happen within minutes. Even in above-freezing temperatures, frostbite can occur when there's if there's a strong wind chill.

Some of the following types are more likely to develop frostbite:


·         Those who take medicines called beta-blockers


·         Those who smoke


·         Those who have diabetes

·         The very young or very old

·         Those who have Raynaud’s

Meanwhile, some of the signs and symptoms of frostbite include the following:

·         Pain or a prickling sensation that progresses to numbness


·         Pale, hard and cold skin that appears waxy


·         A burning sensation and swelling from collected fluid (this may last for weeks)


·         Blisters


·         A black, scab-like crust that may develop several weeks after exposure


·         Some people may get tissue injury known as chilblains or pernio – not quite frostbite but cold injury to the capillaries.  There may be redness, blistering, itching and pain to the exposed toes.


For those with frostbite, the key to treating it is to gradually warm the affected area.  This can be done by doing things such as:


·         Getting out of the cold. Once you're inside, remove wet clothes such as socks or gloves.

·         Gradually warm frostbitten areas. Place frostbitten hands or feet in warm water. Wrap other areas in a warm blanket. Avoid direct heat, such as a heat lamp, a fireplace or a heating pad – this can cause burns that you may not be able to feel while your skin is numb.

·         Don't walk on frostbitten feet – this could further damage the tissue.

·         Seek emergency medical help if you have numbness or sustained pain.


The key is prevention.  Keep warm, don't stay outside for extended periods of time, and always wear gloves and protective boots.  Shearling-lined boots or gloves can keep those digits warm.

If you think you might be suffering from frostbite or chilblains, call our Lemont office (or if it's after-hours, an emergency medical care facility.) We can get patients into our office same-day, so don't wait to seek treatment.


By Diana Emini