Frostbite occurs when a body part is exposed to extreme cold. If conditions are cold enough for the water within the tissues to freeze and form ice crystals, cell death can occur. The feet, hands, ears and nose are particularly prone to frostbite due to their location away from the body’s core.
Mild exposure to cold typically produces pain and irritation of the skin. Greater exposure may produce burning and numbness as well as blistering and reversible damage to the outer skin layers. Eventually there will be complete loss of sensation and permanent damage to all layers of the skin, arteries, muscles and tendons.
Frostbite can be prevented by limiting exposure and keeping the feet as warm and dry as possible. If, however, frostbite is suspected, the feet should be rapidly re-warmed by immersion in warm water (approximately 100 degrees Farenheit). Avoid vigorous rubbing/massaging and dry heat (such as from a hair dryer), as burns may result if numbness is present. To avoid infection, blisters or damaged skin should be treated with antibiotic cream and loose bandages, and medical attention should be sought as soon as possible.
Skin & Nail Issues
Athlete's foot and fungal nails are the most common fungal problems with feet.
Many people don't realize they have a fungal nail problem and, therefore, don't seek treatment. Yet, fungal toenail infections are a common foot health problem and can persist for years without ever causing pain. The disease, characterized by a change in a toenail's color, is often considered nothing more than a mere blemish. Left untreated, however, it can present serious problems.
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Ingrown toenails occur when the corners or sides of the toenail dig into the skin, often causing infection. Also known as onychocryptosis, ingrown toenails, start out hard,swollen, and tender. Left untreated, they may become sore, red, and infected and the skin may start to grow over the ingrown toenail. They are usually caused by trimming toenails too short, particularly on the sides of the big toes, and may also be caused by shoe pressure (from shoes that are too tight or short), injury, fungus infection, heredity, or poor foot structure. A common ailment, ingrown toenails can be painful. Click here for more information on ingrown toenails.
For more information on other common skin problems click each topic below.