Frostbite

December 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Health, Sports 

Athletes who are out in cold and wet conditions need to be watchful for frostbite.

Frostbite occurs when tissue actually freezes. Toes are particularly susceptible to this serious condition. Factors that contribute to frostbite include exposure to wind, wet skin (even from sweat), and tight socks and shoes that constrict blood flow.

Early signs of frostbite include numbness, a waxy or pale discoloration of the skin, the tissue becoming firm to the touch, and pain in the area. As the frostbite progresses, the skin gets paler and the pain ceases. Often frostbite will thaw on its own as the person keeps moving or gets into a warm environment and out of the wind, wet, and cold. As the tissue warms, there can be redness, itching, and swelling.

In severe cases of frostbite, the skin becomes immobile as it freezes with underlying tissue. Blisters can form with clear or milky fluid. Blisters filled with blood indicate deeper damage. While the skin may change color, or even darken, do not assume you will lose the toes. It may take weeks or months to know if amputation is necessary. Check with your physician as soon as possible to determine what care is necessary.

Be aware of moisture inside your shoes and socks in extreme cold conditions. Sweat and outside moisture can change to ice inside your socks, leading to frostbite.

Tips for Managing Frostbite

  • Do not rub your toes to warm them—that causes even more tissue damage.
  • Do not rub the frostbitten area.
  • Unless absolutely necessary, don’t walk on frostbitten feet or toes.
  • Get into a warm environment as soon as possible.
  • Immerse the affected area in lukewarm—not hot—water, or warm the affected area with the body heat from another person.
  • Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming.
  • Do not rewarm or thaw frostbite unless you are sure you can keep the area warm. It is important to remember that thawing the tissue and then allowing it to refreeze can be devastating. Get professional medical help if possible.
  • Dehydration will make you more susceptible to frostbite.

One Shoe for You?

December 22, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Foot Care, Footwear, Footwear Products, Health 

Whether you are a runner, ultrarunner, adventure racer, thru-hiker, casual walker, or something in-between, you are probably always on the lookout for the right shoe. Maybe one of the magazines you subscribe to has a shoe issue, or occasional shoe reviews. Or maybe you scour the Internet reading reviews or pay close attention to what is written in email forums to which you subscribe. It’s the elusive search for the perfect shoe.

Wall of Shoes

Wall of Shoes

Can there be more than one shoe that is right for your feet? Are there perfect shoes? Christopher Willett went through four pairs of shoes on his 2003 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike (2600+ miles) and bought them as he went. Wearing size 15 running shoes, he didn’t really have the option of buying from an outfitter along the trail. He would call or use the Internet from various towns along the way and have new shoes and socks sent up trail. He started in Brooks Adrenaline GTS and liked them in the hot 563-mile Southern California section. He wished the next shoe, the Asics Eagle Trail, had a more protective sole but liked the tread. While the New Balance 806s were structurally good, he felt they had a poor tread design and they are the only shoe that he would not wear again. He finished the last 670 miles in the Asics Gel Trabuco V and liked their durability and tread. Would one of the shoes have worked for his whole thru-hike? If they had been the NB 806s, the answer would be no. Probably any of the other three would have worked the whole way, but Chris might have had problems sticking with one shoe given the varying weather and terrain of the trail. Even the most perfect shoe can have small issues: breathability, tread design, cushioning, sole protection, and so on. Each of these issues can make them perfect for one set of conditions and wrong for another.

In reality, there is more than one shoe that is right for your feet. What’s important, regardless of which shoe you choose, is that the shoe fits.

Note: The photo shows part of the display of shoes at Zombierunner, Palo Alto. They have a great store.

13 Christmas Gifts for Your Feet

December 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footwear Products 

What better time of the year to pamper your feet than Christmas. Our feet are encased in heavy socks and footwear. We take them for granted. Here’s a look at my favorite things for your feet this year. My suggestion is to check out these items at Zombierunner.com. Don and Gillian support athletes with great service. You can click on their link and at their website, click on Foot Care or any other items. Zombierunner has everyone of these items, except a callus file.

Engo Footwear Patches – these slick patches go in your shoes to reduce friction. A must for any foot care first aid kit.

Drymax Socks – my favorite socks that hate moisture. Their micro-fiber technology is a sweat removal system to keep your feet dry.

Injinji Socks – the original toesocks that are perfect for many sports, and a must for those who are prone to toe blisters.

Sportslick Lubricant – Prevents blisters, chafing and skin rash during sporting activities. This skin care product also cures jock itch, athlete’s foot, and other skin conditions.

Stuffitts Portable Drying Solutions – for shoes, gloves, helmets to defeat wet and stinky gear. Their soft, lightweight forms combat moisture and kills odor in personal wearable gear.

BlisterShield Powder – a great powder, especially for those who prefer powder over a lubricant.

Kinesio Tex Tape – a great tape that breathes and conforms to the shape of any part of your feet. 1, 2, and 3 inch widths.

Leukotape – one of the stickiest tapes available. 1 ½ inches wide.

Superfeet Insoles – one of the best insoles for support. They are available in a number of options.

Toenail Clippers – everyone needs a good clipper to tame their toenails.

Callus File – a callus build-up can lead to problems that can result in blisters underneath this hard layer of skin.

Natural Running – this is a great book that teaches you to run the way nature intended, mimicking the healthy, efficient barefoot style you were born with, while keeping feet safe from rough modern surfaces.

Fixing Your Feet, 5th edition – my best-selling book that covers all aspects of footwear and foot care.
Here’s the Amazon link for the Fixing Your Feet print edition.
Here’s the Amazon link for a Fixing Your Feet Kindle edition.

I hope you’ll consider one or more of these as gifts either to yourself or a friend.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Zombierunner and make a few pennies when you buy through my link.

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