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Frostbite due to wet socks?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Has anyone every come close or had frostbite occur on their feet while out on the slopes? Is it a good idea to carry an extra pair of socks in case the ones you are wearing get too wet?

post #2 of 26

I've never had frostbite.  I'm not sure it's even possible with alpine boots for the limited time someone would be out.  

BUT, that said, I've had cold feet.  I always bring an extra pair of sox -- don't always use them -- and put antiperspirant on my feet before booting up.  Don't wear your ski sox to the hill in your car; change into them when you put on your boots.  And...keep those extra sox handy in case you need/want them at lunch.

My $0.02.

post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by thisalexwilson View Post
 

Has anyone every come close or had frostbite occur on their feet while out on the slopes? Is it a good idea to carry an extra pair of socks in case the ones you are wearing get too wet?

Welcome to EpicSki!  I always carry a pair of extra socks since I like to be comfortable in the afternoon if my feet sweat enough so that my socks are damp and I stop for a longer lunch.  If it's really cold, what's more important is to cover any exposed skin on the face.  What region do you usually ski in?

 

Quite possible for an advanced/expert skier to get frostbite in toes.  Less likely for someone only skiing lift-served terrain.  Read these threads for examples:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/123655/frostbite-toe-skiing-questions

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/126155/a-frostbite-tale-graphic-pic-warning

post #4 of 26

One important question to ask is where is the moisture on your feet coming from? Is it sweat, or is it water getting into the boot? I have fairly sweaty feet, so I get the first problem. I carry extra socks, use spray antiperspirant before putting my socks on (make sure it dries first). Never wear my ski socks to the hill, all that jazz. With all that, my toes can sweat sometimes.

 

If it's water getting into the boot, you need to take measures to prevent your boot from leaking. I wear Langes, which are notorious for leaking at the toe. A piece of duct tape over the toe gap works pretty well for me.

post #5 of 26

I've had frostnip in my toes.  It was in the range of -30C and I was out for about 3 hours.  I think dampness and snow leakage play a part in that.  I'm going to try the snow covers this year if I get a chance..see if that helps.

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tch View Post
 

I'm not sure it's even possible with alpine boots for the limited time someone would be out.  

 

Three of my toes would beg to disagree. 

 

As far a wet socks, wasn't why I got frostbite, but could contribute to a case since insulative value goes down. Do you mean from sweating? Which could be everything from hiking for your turns to your genes. Or from leaky boots?

 

First issue, dress in layers to cool off more effectively, yep, prolly carry spares you can change into at lunch. If lunch is outside, bit more complicated but can be done, you just need to practice. And above all, make sure your boots fit. Cold damage is typically from boots that don't allow any foot movement in front. 

 

Second issue, duct tape is your friend. Although some boots - especially plugs and some brands like Lange -  just seem to leak a bit no matter what. Part of the package. 

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott43 View Post
 

I've had frostnip in my toes.  It was in the range of -30C and I was out for about 3 hours.  I think dampness and snow leakage play a part in that.  I'm going to try the snow covers this year if I get a chance..see if that helps.

Are you thinking about the Boot Gloves?  I like them.  Definitely helps keep feet warmer in frigid temps.  Although sometimes snow gets underneath at the toe.  Usually don't bother unless is going to be under 20 degrees F all day.  Getting Intuition liners helped too.

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

One important question to ask is where is the moisture on your feet coming from? Is it sweat, or is it water getting into the boot? I have fairly sweaty feet, so I get the first problem. I carry extra socks, use spray antiperspirant before putting my socks on (make sure it dries first). Never wear my ski socks to the hill, all that jazz. With all that, my toes can sweat sometimes.

 

If it's water getting into the boot, you need to take measures to prevent your boot from leaking. I wear Langes, which are notorious for leaking at the toe. A piece of duct tape over the toe gap works pretty well for me.

I also used antiperspirant in spray but now use a special antiperspirant cream for the feet... This season, I will also try baby powder as someone told me that it was very efficient... And now, when it is lower than -30° Celcius, I put a toe warmer over my toes and feet...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Three of my toes would beg to disagree. 

 

As far a wet socks, wasn't why I got frostbite, but could contribute to a case since insulative value goes down. Do you mean from sweating? Which could be everything from hiking for your turns to your genes. Or from leaky boots?

 

First issue, dress in layers to cool off more effectively, yep, prolly carry spares you can change into at lunch. If lunch is outside, bit more complicated but can be done, you just need to practice. And above all, make sure your boots fit. Cold damage is typically from boots that don't allow any foot movement in front. 

 

Second issue, duct tape is your friend. Although some boots - especially plugs and some brands like Lange -  just seem to leak a bit no matter what. Part of the package. 

 Duct tape is also my Lange boot's friend!

post #9 of 26

You most definitely can get frostbite skiing lift served terrain. If your feet get cold enough that your toes get numb they are cold enough to get frostbite in the course of a resort day. Prolonged moisture exposure won't cause frostbite but can cause trenchfoot. According to Wikipedia--unsourced citation--it can occur in as little as thirteen hours, so even if that is correct not a concern for a resort skier. If you carry extra socks do it for comfort. Just in case someone doesn't know this, too much sock increases the risk of frostbite by reducing circulation to the feet.  

 

If sweating feet is a problem the best product to use is Drysol.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses, kind of wish there was a way to carry a couple pairs of emergency socks just in case i feel some frost nip coming on at a tough spot on the mountain. Very concerned over frostbite now after begin exposed to it earlier in life. Much more sensitive now it seems.

post #11 of 26

Yes exactly.  I just hope to keep some of the snow/ice out of the inside of the boot that seems to migrate in there over time.  I do tend to have warm feet normally so it's the worst of both worlds..ice and snow and sweat.  Complete fail.  :D

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by thisalexwilson View Post
 

Thanks for the responses, kind of wish there was a way to carry a couple pairs of emergency socks just in case i feel some frost nip coming on at a tough spot on the mountain. Very concerned over frostbite now after begin exposed to it earlier in life. Much more sensitive now it seems.

 

Why don't you carry a pair of neoprene Boot Gloves with you on the really cold days? My experience with them is that they allow me to stay out for an extra run before going in to warm up.

 

My Tecnica Cochise Pro 130s are not as warm as previous boots but have more room in the toe box; enough that I can use chemical toe warmers.Thumbs Up

post #13 of 26
I had a serious frostbite injury that almost cost me both big toes. In my case I was wearing race fit boots with foot beds that were high enough to squeeze my toes and cut off circulation. The emergency room doctor (who is a ski patroler) told me the more typical (and way worse) injury occurs when the circulation is cut off by tight buckles. When that happens, the whole front of your foot can freeze.
Boot gloves help a little, at least until snow gets trapped under them, but cold feet is really about poor circulation. Boots that are too tight, or boots that you need to buckle too tight because they are too big, are going to cause you trouble.

BK
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by thisalexwilson View Post
 

Thanks for the responses, kind of wish there was a way to carry a couple pairs of emergency socks just in case i feel some frost nip coming on at a tough spot on the mountain. Very concerned over frostbite now after begin exposed to it earlier in life. Much more sensitive now it seems.

 

Why can't you? Every ski jacket I've ever owned literally has more pockets than i knew what to do with. Stuff them individually in different pockets so they're not too bulky in one spot. Easy. 

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 but cold feet is really about poor circulation. Boots that are too tight, or boots that you need to buckle too tight because they are too big, are going to cause you trouble.

BK

Yeah, I tend to agree.  If I loosen my boots the circulation is improved and my feet are warm in 5 minutes.  I've gone to lighter socks now to see how that works.  Generally good so far.

post #16 of 26

I've found that turning around and fishboning back up the hill a little warms up the feet and everything else.  I used that as a tool when teaching, teaches an important skill often neglected these days and maximizes time out on the mountain instead of having to stop during a lesson or good ski session.  Plus, I hate to be cold and that really works.  I think it helps the feet especially because turning around and walking uphill changes the angle that your boots hug your feet at and thus allow/increases bloodflow where it may have been restricted.

post #17 of 26

^^^^^:rotflmao: Don't teach but glad to hear I'm not the only one to deploy needless exercise to warm up. 

post #18 of 26

Ditto on carrying extra socks, nothing works better for cold feet than a fresh pair, in my experience. Also, make sure everything's dry when your foot goes in in the morning, liner totally dried out overnight, socks fresh when they go in. Don't wear your ski socks when you're driving up to the hill or walking through the parking lot or whatever. Put them on when you boot up. 

post #19 of 26
Re: boot gloves, I've never had snow get underneath the neoprene even though I fold it under at the toe to leave plenty of space to fit into my bindings, and my feet stay quite a bit dryer (Langes). Maybe that's because the boot gloves are pretty small for my boot. If you do use them, get a size that will be snug. Ultra thin wool socks are also my friends.

If worst comes to worst you can invest in boot heaters. In the meantime just take breaks to warm up when your toes get cold.

But don't let fear get in the way. Chances are that you'll be fine, and anyway you should have plenty of warning if you're in danger of freezing again. You'll soon learn where your limits are.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
 

Ditto on carrying extra socks, nothing works better for cold feet than a fresh pair, in my experience. Also, make sure everything's dry when your foot goes in in the morning, liner totally dried out overnight, socks fresh when they go in. Don't wear your ski socks when you're driving up to the hill or walking through the parking lot or whatever. Put them on when you boot up. 

The reason changing socks helps cold feet is that you have to take off the boots that are cutting off the circulation.  The other classic, and valid, advice for cold feet is dressing warmer--when the body is cold the circulation to the feet is reduced to preserve heat for the core. Especially important for people with a history of frostbite, whose arteries constrict more easily in even mild cold. 

post #21 of 26

My wife always has cold feet, always.   Even in the summer she wears socks to bed.   I finally had to invest in the battery powered foot warmers and that solved the issue completely.   

 

Last year we skied 7 hours in -10 F weather at Lutsen and she never complained about her feet once.   Now it's her hands getting cold...  :hopmad:  

post #22 of 26
To go along with Old Goat, add another layer to your core. A friend with Reynaud's adds a small windbreaker jacket UNDER her vest and ski jacket, to help trap warmth (although she has boot warmers most days as well, but the little jacket helps her hands). I found shell pants over my insulated pants added more warmth to my toes than an extra set of long underwear. Boot gloves I find sort of irritating because they interfere with reaching your buckles. And I don't need them any where near as much since I started with the extra pants. Used them once last year. Other years was using them daily, toes folded away from the bindings about a half inch, maybe that helps keep the snow out?
post #23 of 26

My feet sweat even when its cold. What has worked best for me, is wearing the thinnest, lightest wool socks made. The more my feet breathe the better chance they have of staying dry.  I have two pairs of Smart Wool brand thin socks. I assume that other manufactures make equally good products. So far, this has made a huge difference in my comfort and overall warmth. Also, make sure to remove your boot liners from the shell and completely dry them between trips to the mountain. Moisture is easily trapped inside and does not come out as easily.

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHarry18 View Post
 

My feet sweat even when its cold. What has worked best for me, is wearing the thinnest, lightest wool socks made. The more my feet breathe the better chance they have of staying dry.  I have two pairs of Smart Wool brand thin socks. I assume that other manufactures make equally good products. So far, this has made a huge difference in my comfort and overall warmth. Also, make sure to remove your boot liners from the shell and completely dry them between trips to the mountain. Moisture is easily trapped inside and does not come out as easily.

Love specially Ice breaker products! Merino wool rules! Instead of removing my liners, I use a boot dryer; less problem...

post #25 of 26

Wet feet per se aren't really the culprit. When your feet sweat, or get wet from melting snow that penetrates into the boot, the transfer of heat from the foot and toes through the wet sock to the boot is much more efficient than when everything inside the boot is dry. Most boots are pretty impermeable to moisture, so when your feet sweat, there's no where for it to go except the socks. The boot liner provides protection from thermal transfer but it is very thin or even nonexistent at the toes, so the heat transfer to the plastic outer shell is pretty high there. Cold feet are usually more like frigid toes. Changing socks breaks the cycle but it starts again the minute the foot is back in the boot.

 

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the importance of keeping your head (and to a lesser extent, thorax) warm in preventing cold feet. The circulation control system in the body is programmed to keep your brain warm and happy first and to play arbitrator when other organs try to claim a share of that nice warm blood. The loosers in the fight are the extremities. So if the head stays warm, there's no need to shut down the supply to the fingers and toes so that the extra blood can be shunted to the cranial area to keep the brain warm. Allowing max blood flow to the feet by loosening the upper buckles can help increase blood flow, as has already been pointed out in other posts.

 

I've had major issues keeping my feet warm in the past and I've found that Merino wool blends seem to work well, at least for me. I used to use medium weight socks but when I got new boots last year, switched to lightweight and have not had problems - and have better control to boot. The combination (a well designed and properly fitted boot along with the Merino wook socks) has worked so well, for the first time in many years of skiing that I can say that my feet are comfortable nearly all day.

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogsie View Post
 

Love specially Ice breaker products! Merino wool rules! Instead of removing my liners, I use a boot dryer; less problem...

 

Using a boot dryer doesn't always get the water out of the boot.  I suggest pulling the liners from the shell and putting the liners on the dryer.

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