As temperatures drop and winter is in full swing, emergency rooms and urgent care centers across the country are seeing more and more patients with injuries from playing winter sports. There is a whopping 500% increase in ER visits every winter, largely due to slipping and falling on the ice or snow – and when you’re being active, you’re even more susceptible to these injuries.
Winter injuries disproportionately affect the lower extremities. Let’s talk about some of the most common injuries podiatrists see every winter, and where you can go in the San Antonio area to see world-class foot and ankle doctors.
Ankle Sprains and Foot Strains
Whether skiing, ice skating, or just walking on the slippery ice, we’re all susceptible to getting a sprained ankle during the cold winter months. An ankle sprain can cause pain, swelling, and bruising in the ankle and lower leg.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which connects a bone to another bone; similarly, a strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon, which connects a muscle to a bone. A sprain is usually painful to the touch, whereas a strain can cause muscle spasms. Don’t try to diagnose the injury yourself – see a skilled podiatrist for an evaluation and treatment.
Foot and Ankle Fractures
The foot and ankle area can also easily sustain fractures in the winter. Broken feet and ankles are often a result of falling, and slipping on ice or falling onto the ice can be particularly hazardous and cause a hard break.
This type of fracture in the foot area is very painful. It causes significant swelling, and it makes it difficult or impossible to stand or walk.
A fracture needs to be stabilized in order to heal properly. Improperly treated fractures – or untreated fractures – can cause chronic instability and even arthritis.
Foot Pain and Discomfort Due to Cold Temperatures
The cold weather can be brutal to your feet after a long day of being in the freezing weather. They can become stiff and achy as the cold temperatures cause the blood vessels in your feet to constrict – which affects blood flow and can cause numbness.
Your feet are also susceptible to frostbite, so be sure to protect them by wearing protective winter shoes and warm socks that cover all of the skin on your ankle areas. Also, the cold weather tends to exacerbate foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
Foot and Ankle Surgeons in San Antonio, TX
Our foot and ankle surgeons here at The Podiatry Group of South Texas can diagnose and treat all types of foot and ankle injuries, from sprains and strains to fractures. Our goal is to ensure that your injuries are treated appropriately so you can get back to enjoying wintertime activities as soon as possible.