Winter: A Potentially Problematic Time For Your Feet

Posted on: 29 November 2016

With winter weather at hand, it helps to be aware of the numerous conditions of the feet that can occur during the colder months of the year. Being able to recognize the symptoms of common foot conditions related to cold weather can lead to prompt treatment, which helps prevent more serious foot problems from occurring.

Raynaud's Disease

Raynaud's disease is a condition that causes cold fingers and toes when you're exposed to very cold temperatures or emotional stress. The cold causes small blood vessels to tighten, reducing circulation to the lower extremities. Generally, people with the condition notice that their toes and/or fingers turn white and then blue in color with longer exposure to the cold. When that happens, your toes may start to feel numb.

Once you go back indoors and begin warming your feet and toes, they may turn red at first and can hurt as circulation to the area increases. Although the condition can occur on its own, sometimes it's a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as an autoimmune disorder. If you think that you may have Raynaud's disease, see a podiatrist or talk to your family doctor.

Skier's Toe

A condition known as skier's toe causes your toenail to turn black from bleeding under the nail. You may feel pain from the blood pressing on your nail bed.

An injury to the toe or wearing tight ski boots or other footwear can cause the condition. While wearing a ski boot that is too large can cause the problem as well, a podiatrist can alleviate the pain by relieving the pressure of blood pressing against the nail plate. When it comes to prevention, wearing socks that fit your feet snugly helps keep winter footwear from fitting too tightly and causing pressure on your toes.


A condition known as chilblains causes small, itchy, red bumps on the skin–especially on the fingers and toes. Swelling of the skin may occur as well. You are at risk of chilblains when you are exposed to cold weather conditions over a prolonged period of time.

Blood vessels get smaller in cold weather and then get larger again once they are warm. The problem occurs when you warm up the toes too quickly, causing blood to leak out of vessels.

Although a podiatrist can prescribe ointments to treat itching, the condition can lead to more serious problems if you are diabetic or have poor circulation. If you have a medical condition that puts you at higher risk of foot problems, chilblains can lead to infection or ulcers.

Morton's Neuroma

Winter footwear and boots that fit too tightly can also push tissue and bones against the nerves in your feet, resulting in Morton's neuroma. Symptoms typically include tingling, burning pain, and numbness. The condition, which causes pain in the ball of your foot, can affect any toe, but most often occurs between the third and fourth toes.

Morton's neuroma can improve with better fitting shoes and orthotics. However, in some cases, a podiatrist may need to administer corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation. In the worst cases, surgery may be required as permanent nerve damage can occur if the condition goes untreated.

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Sharing Information About Podiatry

Hello, my name is Dylan. Welcome to my website about podiatry. When I was in a dancing group, I constantly injured my toes. I tried to correct my posture issues, but mechanical issues prevented the change. I decided to work with a podiatrist to correct these problems. I underwent a number of treatments and eventually decided to wear orthotics in my shoes. The orthotics helped support my feet and reduce pain when I was not dancing. On this site, I will talk about the various treatments provided by podiatrists. Please feel free to come by often to learn more about podiatry.