When you are getting ready to head out and shovel, snow blow or even to play - make sure to protect your feet!  Our fingers and toes are the farthest from our heart and in cold weather our bodies opt to protect vital organs first, diverting blood flow away from your fingers and toes.  It is important to wear thick, warm socks and supportive boots with traction that are waterproof.  When toes get wet, they are more prone to be cold and stay cold.  Early signs of frostbite include a sensation of coldness, itchiness, numbness or pain - which some people figure are "normal" for being outside this time of year.  However, if cold exposure is prolonged, the skin and underlying anatomy can start to die due to a lack of blood flow - a process called necrosis.  In more mild cases, damage to the skin superficially can result in temporary pain in the toes and can also cause long-term nerve damage, pain and future sensitivity to cold.  In extreme cases, the necrosis can extend deep into the toe and in a worst-case scenario surgery to removed non-viable portions of the toes may need to be performed to prevent infection.

Whenever you get back inside after being out in the snow and cold, warm your feet back up slowly, by removing cold/wet socks and boots and putting on thick dry ones.  Don't ever try to soak your feet in warm or hot water - if your feet are still numb, you can burn the skin without even noticing initially!

Enjoy the weather safely and keep those feet warm and dry!

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