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Foot Health: With colder weather, Raynaud’s disease becomes more common; know what to look for

By Dr. Matthew Ellsworth
Special to KyForward

With the colder weather, there is one particular foot condition that is common this time of year. I have seen it several times these past few weeks.

Raynaud’s disease is a condition that affects small blood vessels, like the ones in toes. As these blood vessels shrink, less oxygen and nutrients are able to reach the skin. For this reason, people who have Raynaud’s disease will often complain of cold, pain or tingling to their toes. Another symptom of Raynaud’s is toe discoloration in response to temperature changes.

Initially, the toes change to a white color, then bluish/purple to red as the area is warmed and circulation improves. However, toe discoloration doesn’t occur in every case of Raynaud’s disease. Plus, Raynaud’s disease is more common in women than men.

Raynaud’s disease, which is more commonly seen in female patients, has potential to lead to bigger problems. In severe cases, Raynaud’s can lead to sores and gangrene, necessitating amputation of the affected area.

It’s no surprise that these types of cases have been on the rise in recent weeks, because cold weather can be very harsh on people with Raynaud’s disease, circulation problems, and other conditions such as diabetes.

It’s important that if you suspect you have a circulation issue to call and make an appointment with a podiatrist. There is a very noninvasive test for circulation problems of the lower extremity called ABI/PADnet testing and it could end up saving your life.

And as we like to say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of correction.”


Dr. Matthew Ellsworth works at Lexington Podiatry.

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