Daniel L. Reminga, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S.
Foot Doctor Houghton, MI
801 Memorial Rd.
Houghton, MI 49931 US




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By Daniel Reminga
January 08, 2014
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Cold? More like FA-REEZING!! Our bodies often feel the cold first, in our hands and feet. It may be that we just feel “chilled” with icy hands and toes, or we could be experiencing more serious problems.

Let’s drill down deeper and discover how the cold weather can affect our bodies and our feet more specifically. In this series, Dr. Daniel Reminga, a board certified foot and ankle specialist, from the Northern Foot Care Center, in Houghton will tell us how cold, stormy weather affects our feet and ankles.

Have you heard it said…”I can always tell when a storm is coming, my joints hurt.” The truth is, the effect of the barometric pressure, in the atmosphere, does have an effect on our bodies. Barometric pressure is the weight of the atmosphere that surrounds us. The effects of barometric pressure may come in the form of achy or painful joints in our feet and ankles. People say, “The weather is changing, I can feel it in my bones.” Arthritis suffers are often the first to know when a storm is brewing. How does this work? Well, when the air pressure is high, it causes pressure against our bodies which keeps our tissues from expanding. In turn, when there is a storm coming and the air pressure is low, there is less pressure pushing on our bodies, which then allows body tissues to expand. As a result, those expanded tissues put pressure on our joints. It’s so microscopic, but our bodies pick up on these sensations. Dr. Reminga, a board certified foot and ankle specialist, from the Northern Foot Care Center, in Houghton, says, “People that have chronic pain, have nerves that are more sensitive to the changes that occur in the barometric pressure. Patients that have chronic pain become more sensitive due to the expansion of the bodies tissues on injuries they have experienced, inflammation, scarring, and arthritis for example.” Dr. Reminga goes on to say, “There are mixed conclusions when studying the effects of barometric pressure on the body. However, there is a reasonable likelihood that we are affected by the pressure that the atmosphere places on our bodies. The body expands or contracts based on outside pressure variances. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that pain can be signaled by these changes.”

What can we do to help manage pain due to weather changes? Here are a few suggestions…

  1. Keep the body warm - Here are a few suggestions...wear extra layers of clothing, turn up the thermostat in your home, warm up your car in advance, sleep with socks on and use an electric blanket, tumble your clothes in a warm dryer before putting them on. For your feet, Dr. Reminga suggests wearing socks that have wool in them, don’t wear tight socks around the ankles, try to wiggle or move your toes periodically. Also, by applying a heating pad to painful joints your muscles will relax which can sooth your joints and tissue thus easing pain. Words of caution…diabetic patients need to be careful when applying heat to the feet, due to loss of feeling in the toes and feet; high heat could be harmful to the diabetic patient.
  2. Prevent swelling - The application of heat can help with joint pain, however, Dr. Reminga says that it’s not good for swelling. If arthritis in the feet flairs up during bad weather, try wearing compression socks at night to keep fluid away from the joints. When lying down, raise your feet above your heart. By raising your legs, it allows the blood to circulate back to the heart instead of pooling at the feet and ankles which causes inflammation and swelling. Also, be aware of eating a low salt diet. This can cause fluid retentions and contribute to achy, swollen joints in the feet and ankles. Dehydration is another common reason many people have problems with swollen feet and ankles. The solution is to drink more water.
  3. Keep the body moving - Exercise is key to loosen joints and relieve stiffness, Dr. Reminga says. Before going out into the cold, light exercise can be helpful. Walk on the treadmill, go up and down stairs a few times, rotate the ankles back and forth, pump the feet as though you are pushing on pedals. All these motions can help the blood circulate and loosen stiff joints.

In Part 2 of “Cold Weather and Foot Pain”, Dr. Reminga will talk about frostbite and other problems that can result due to cold weather. If you have foot pain, you can be confident when you make your appointment with Dr. Reminga. Rest assured, you will be in good hands. Dr. Reminga at Northern Foot Care Center in Houghton, is a board certified foot and ankle specialist with over 28 years of experience.

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