Patriotic Toes – Red, White & Blue
This is time the time of the year where the temperature starts to drop and some of you notice that your toes change color. Color of the toes may be red, white or blue or all three, which I call patriotic toes. You can also develop this of the fingers. This condition can cause pain at the tips of the toes and sometimes small blisters or ulcerations if severe enough.
This is caused from vasoconstriction of the small blood vessels in the toes form the cool temperatures. This can occur while walking bare foot on the cool tiles at your house, having been outside in the cold or after walking down the frozen food isle at the local market. This is called Raynaud’s disease (primary Raynaud’s) which is not the results of an associated medical condition and affects women more than men in the 15 – 30 year old age group. The Raynaud’s phenomenon (secondary Raynaud’s) is caused by an underlying medical problem such as lupus and scleroderma and usually appears around the age of 40.
Prevention would be stop smoking, limit your caffeine intake and keep your toes and fingers warm. Treatment may vary depending on the cause. There are topical creams and oral medications which can increase the blood flow to the fingers and toes.
If you have a history of severe Raynaud’s and develop blisters, sores or ulcers on the tips of finger or toes call your doctor.
This is one case where it’s not cool to be patriotic! It’s cold!
Here are a few preventative measures to help protect your hands and feet during the cold season.
Invest in some waterproof/winterproof gloves and shoe to provide your hand’s good protection from the elements.
Get some hand warmers and feet warmers! These warmers are an absolute must-have. Activate two of them five minutes, in advance, so they’re nice and warm and then pop them inside your shoes or gloves before going out. Put them on the top part of each hand and foot rather than under. These areas bear the brunt of the cold wind.
Consider heated insoles. Happy Hot Feet work very well. They’re remote-controlled with three different temperature settings and last all day on one charge to give an ambient heat for up to 12 hours.
For runners, bikers or any prolong activity in the cold elements, consider a pair of neoprene overshoes. Not only will they keep your feet dry, but they will also keep them warm by trapping the air inside your shoes. Combine it with a pair of good quality merino wool socks for added protection.