Sunday, February 15, 2009

Biting Winter

I have frostbite all over where the tope of my foot meets my leg. So basically, the skin is all dry and/or dead and it burns at times. Do you know how I can get my skin back to normal?-- Cold Feet

Dear CF,

There is no subsitute for a real examination. However, my cyber shoot from the hip pocket gut feeling is that it doesn't sound like frostbite. Bite makes me think of that Pennsylvania groundhog. If he sees his shadow, its 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, its an early spring. Well, Phil the groundhog bit the mayor, this year. I guess that means we are going to have a biting cold winter.

Considering that it really has been a biting winter, you probably have Chilblains (pernio). It is self-limiting problem that does not result in permanent damage. It sometimes becomes chronic (produces long-lasting symptoms) if you get hypersensitivity to temperature changes. No treatment is known other than trying to prevent the front of your ankle from cold exposure. Wear tall thermal socks and running pants that do not expose your ankles to the elements. Tapered pants or tights are effective thermal barriers. Leg warmers used by dancers are also very effective. If your condition does not improve as the weather moderates, have a medical examination.

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