Prevent Foot Pain From Cold Weather
When winter weather hits, we prepare with puffer coats and winter boots, but what about preparation for cold weather joint pain? Not only do freezing temperatures cause achiness in our joints, but snow and ice create added risk for winter foot and ankle injuries. Every winter, either you or someone you know falls victim to an un-salted sidewalk and suffers a fall causing damage to the foot or ankle. Don’t just prepare to dress for winter weather, prepare yourself for foot and ankle discomfort and injuries that may occur.
Can Cold Weather Make Foot Pain Worse?
Yes, cooler weather can cause foot pain to worsen. Cold temperatures cause muscles and tissues within our joints to tighten. As the tissues contract, they pull on the nerve endings causing pain in our joints.
Inclement weather and the delights of the holiday season often lead to less physical activity and added weight in the winter months. This can lead to additional pressure on the feet also resulting in soreness. It’s important to stay active and keep an eye on your overall health, otherwise your body could be more susceptible to injuries.
Common Winter Foot and Ankle Injuries
Plantar fasciitis. During winter months, some experience a flare up of plantar fasciitis. Often a consequence of unsupportive shoes in the summer, tight calf muscles or ill-fitting boots can injure the plantar fascia and cause inflammation.
- Arthritis. Arthritis pain is often amplified in the winter due to the cooler temperatures causing reduced circulation and changes in atmospheric pressure causing swelling in joints.
Chilblains. Chilblains are the painful inflammation of small blood vessels. The inflammation occurs after repeated exposure to cold, but not freezing temperatures resulting in itchiness, swelling and red patches on toes.
- Athlete’s foot. Individuals often layer socks in the winter to avoid cold feet. When there are several layers of fabric inside shoes, the feet lack proper ventilation leading to a build up of moisture that can lead to athlete’s foot.
- Arch & Heel Pain. In general, to stay warm during the winter chill your muscles contract. Repeated muscle contraction in your ankles and feet can lead to stiffness in your arch and heel.
Help For Foot Pain During Winter
Our expert Des Moines, Mason City and Pella podiatrists are prepared with treatment options and can help you fend off foot pain during winter. They know winter weather is not always predictable and accidents happen. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself from foot and ankle injuries during the winter months.
Keep moving. 30 minutes of physical activity a day can help keep your muscles pliable and reduce your risk of muscle tightness. Even daily stretching can make a positive impact.
- Wear proper footwear. Purchase warm, comfortable boots and winter shoes to ensure your feet have proper support. Wearing shoes that are too tight can lead to hammer toes, corns or calluses, so make sure they are the right size (and if you’re going to be wearing cushy fuzzy socks, make sure there’s extra room in the shoe)!
- Dress in layers. Especially during the winter months, where temperatures go below freezing, it is vital that you keep your lower body just as warm as your top half. If possible, add long underwear under your pants and wear thicker socks. This will provide a protective barrier from the freezing temps and prevent the muscles in your legs from contracting and causing stress on the tendons in your feet.
- Stay hydrated with warm liquids. Drinking warm liquids in the winter improves blood circulation. This is especially important for those who experience heightened arthritis pain in the joints of the feet and ankles during cool weather. Tea and bone broth are great alternatives to plain, hot water if you’re interested in something a little more exciting.
- Eat healthy. Some foods can cause inflammation in the joints of the feet and ankles and during the winter we may be more likely to overindulge in heavily processed foods, foods high in sugar, alcohol or rich foods which can cause an inflammatory response. Additionally, the abundance of holiday treats and warm comfort foods may result in added weight on our frames which can cause stress on our ankles and feet. Eat to fuel your body and remember to get adequate physical activity to stretch the muscles in your feet!
- More ways to stay warm and prevent cold weather joint pain. To stay warm, use a heating pad or an electric blanket! Household temperatures can be hard to maintain in the winter months, so be sure to keep a pair of slippers and compression gloves or socks around. If you have access to a sauna or hot tub, the best time to take advantage of those amenities is during winter.
Get Help For Foot Pain in the Winter From Our Podiatrists in Des Moines, Mason City & Pella
Winter months tend to be long and can feel even longer when you’re living with joint pain. Preventing your foot pain during cold weather is important to us. Our podiatrists in Des Moines, Mason City and Pella are prepared to treat any winter weather foot and ankle injuries you may have.
If you’re experiencing winter weather joint pain, schedule an evaluation with one of our local podiatrists today. Or, contact us for answers to questions you might have about the treatment options we provide at East Village Foot and Ankle Surgeons.