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Orthopedic Associates' Blog


How frostbite affects your extremities
How frostbite affects your extremities
By: Dr. Randal Aaranson The winter cold can have a devastating effect on your skin, especially sub-freezing wind chill. Frostbite is essentially the freezing of skin and tissue and can occur within a matter of minutes. Frostbite typically affects the skin and tissue of exposed areas, such as your nose, cheeks, ears, hands, and feet. One of the common misconceptions is that frostbite only affects exposed skin. Even covered extremities, such as hands and feet, can be at risk of developing frostbite because of the relative temperature under gloves and shoes. Can you get frostbite in St. Louis? You may wonder, “Doesn’t frostbite only occur in extremely cold places, like the Dakotas and Canada?” Unfortunately, the risk of frostbite can be present in any sub-freezing temperatures. St. Louis’ winter wind chill temperatures often register at below the freezing point. A 10- to 15-minute walk to the train station without the proper winter clothing can put anyone at risk for developing first-stage frostbite, a condition called frostnip. Symptoms of frostbite Since frostbite is the freezing of tissue, the initial symptoms are pain and tingling sensations ...