Aarrrh my feet are cold!

August 12th, 2019

Dealing with winter chills

Upper Hutt Foot Clinic

Do you often feel like your feet colder than they should be?

To find out, press the tip of your big toe with one of your fingers for a couple of seconds so it blanches (turns) white. Let go and count how many seconds it takes to return to normal colour.

If it takes more than 8 seconds you are at risk of developing a chill injury. This could be a symptom of not having enough blood flow to your feet.

There are several causes of not enough blood flow to your feet. During winter, chilblains are quite common. They are painful and often the toes look white, then blue, then red. To prevent chilblains, keep your core body temperature stable, with your feet, hands and head covered. Wear warm socks at all times – wool and possum are a great combo.

Slow, low warming of the area helps. Avoid hot water bottles as they are too hot and can cause burns to the feet and other parts of the body.

You can lightly massage the point on your foot where it is still warm, using motions which pull forward towards the toes, trying to encourage the warm blood into the cold area of the foot . Do not massage the area that is cold as it will not help and may cause injury.

Lack of blood flow to your toes can produce areas of tissue breakdown with skin splitting. Keep in mind, chill injuries can be a symptom of a more serious medical problem so it is always a good idea to get them checked out properly.

So wrap up this winter.

Newsletter
Sign up to receive newsletters for the Upper Hutt Health Centre right to your inbox.