Heat And Your Feet

A few of you are saying “is he talking about feet again”? Hey, I’ve only talked about feet once before, when I wrote this post in June talking about 5 Things You Should Know About Your Feet after visiting a podiatrist. This time around it’s a real life story; heck, who am I kidding, they’re always real life stories. So instead it’s a tale of caution; stay close.

Last Sunday I got an early morning text from my friend Scott about going to a hockey game, my first in more than 30 years. I’m not a major hockey fan, though I don’t mind watching the games, but the reason I stopped going was because my feet would always get really cold pretty quickly, no matter what I did, and then I couldn’t enjoy myself. He told me I shouldn’t have to worry about it since technology has changed and they had renovated the place where the game was being held from so many years ago.

I didn’t want to take any chances however. Two weeks earlier I had gone to one of those stores that has lots of hunting stuff and bought two things. One package was warmers for toes, the other package foot warmers. I had tried the toe warmers and they didn’t work out quite to well. They did keep my feet warm, but I did a test where I put the warmer on top of my left foot and on the bottom of my right foot, with socks on both. My left foot ended up getting burned slightly while my right foot handled things much better, but burning my left foot should have been a warning call of sorts.

This time I put on two pairs of socks, then slipped the warmers in them, thinking I had enough protection from both the cold and potential heat of the warmers. They picked me up, and we went to the game.

All seemed fine early on as we watched the warmup. We had to be there early because Scott was acting as official photographer for the game. Then the game got started and it was actually kind of cool to watch. However, midway through the first period both of my feet started to feel… uncomfortable. They didn’t feel like they were burning necessarily, but discomfort is never a good sign. I decided to err on the side of caution and remove both foot warmers. Turns out I really didn’t need them to keep my feet warm, although I have to admit that I used them every once in awhile to warm my legs, especially around both knees, and Scott’s wife used one of them to warm her hands at one point.

Here’s the thing. Ever since I got home last Sunday, the bottom of my feet have been tender. This is 8 days later, and it might be hard to see in the picture I’ve got above because, trust me, it’s hard taking a picture of the bottom of your feet, but my toes are still red. I didn’t blister or anything, thank goodness, but my feet are irritated even now.

The questions are thus: did I have problems because my feet are sensitive; did I have problems because I’m diabetic; did I have problems because of the extra pair of socks, which might have pushed the cushion down too far and thus generated more heat than normal; or do more people than what shows up during an online search have problems with this type of thing that I know about?

I don’t know, but I know this; I had problems. I found the brand online that I bought & tried to see if anyone had written any warnings about it but they haven’t so I’m not going to mention the company name. All I’m going to say is that you might need to consider how tender your feet are if you decide to test these or any of those number of homemade foot warmers that you put in to microwave, since I did find warnings about those. It seems that the best way to warm your feet safely is in warm water by soaking them, but of course that limits you to being at home. Sigh…

38 thoughts on “Heat And Your Feet”

  1. Yikes! Thanks for the warning, Mitch. My remedy is to place a quilt on the floor, stick my stockinged feet on top and then wrap my feet and legs in the quilt.

    It’s quite comfortable and, if I get too warm, I just unwrap until the draft chills my feet again. The real issue is to fix that $#%*! draft, but that’s another story.



  2. To be honest with you i hate cold from the bottom of my heart. I avoid on going to cold places such as hockey, ice skating or even skying.
    I work as a seaman and for the last 3 years i’ve missed winter time in my country. I had six summers and i’m quite excited.

  3. Geesh Mitch, toughen up your feet. Start going out side with no socks or shoes. Take a stroll on the blacktop on a hot summer day, run on some rocks…

    Ok, maybe you should wait until you can do these things without getting frost bite. Then again, frost bite might toughen them up a it (or at least cause enough pain that you wouldn’t notice a little redness from heat pads).

    1. Yeah, like I’m walking out of my house in bare feet; that would be an “alert the media” moment to be sure. lol And the thing about frostbite is that sometimes they amputate toes; not like I’m not already worrying about that one.

  4. Yep I know about those foot warmers all too well!

    I used to work at a furniture and appliance store on the loading dock. During the holiday season we would work for 12-14 hours a day and there would be so many customers the dock garage doors would never close.

    So you got cold quickly in the morning and you STAYED cold all day long. The hand warmers were fine since I could easily remove them if they got too hot, but I learned quickly that leaving the foot warmers in would burn your feet after not too long.

    I never did discover the perfect solution, even today if I wear two pairs of socks I get way too warm.

    Somebody needs to become the Foot Whisperer and figure out the perfect system, they’ll be a millionaire!

    1. John, I’d love to be the foot whisperer because my feet are always cold when the weather changes. However, I’ve obviously never figured it out either; sigh… I think it’s funny that I couldn’t find anyone online warning about these things. However, my wife reminded me that the woman at the place I bought them actually did warn me to be careful because she’d seen someone who suffered blisters and such. Of course that guy also slept with them in; I’m not quite that stupid.

  5. I also have problem with my feet when the weather is cold since my childhood. I guess to many injuries as I played 7 years football at junior teams of my city. Those problems became severe during my time in the army. If temperature drops below zero, no matter what kind of shoes I wear, my feet and especially toes swollen. Well, I am living in hot country now and all my shoes are open, however I started facing different problem, probably because I don’t wear normal shoes. Now every normal shoe that I wear hurting me. Few weeks back, I was for a month in my home country, actually I bought 5 different pairs of shoes just to feel comfortable and check with specialist. He prescribed a cream and some supplements, thought me that my problem with cold weather is related to hormonal disbalanse.

    1. Wow Carl. Don’t know how men solve hormonal imbalances but I’m wishing you luck with that one. When I lived in northern Maine I wore military shoes that looked like what the men on the moon wore. My feet were always warm in those bad boys, and since we didn’t have to pay for heat we were always warm there as well. But there were other times when my feet got really cold; I hate even thinking about it.

      1. Probably I didn’t formulated properly, technically I was told that I am receiving too much vitamin D which makes extra calcium to appear in bones on feet and arms, technically I just don’t need to stay longer on sunlight and this is something that I quite like to do during the weekend around swimming pool or sea. About cold feet, I definitely can’t find a solution, just some relief with bigger shoes and warm socks. Actually a bit of of brandy with tea also help.

  6. I’m genuinely sorry to hear about your feet Mitch and I feel empathy. I have a very similar problem with my hands, they become frozen, virtually stiff and I loose all use of the same. If any effective warming device is used they become swollen and the pain is unbearable. Nobody can figure out the reason, apart from a bit of arthritis. Keeps me inside eight months a year but gives me an opportunity to write the odd comment!
    All the best.

    1. Sally, I’m the same with my hands, but gloves are easy to buy that keep my hands really warm. Footwear is either warm or comfortable but for me never both, so I’ve gone with comfortable. I might need to rethink that strategy somewhat.

  7. I love cold season more than any other seasons. Yeah, I do take precaution when winter begins like using proper body cream and exercising more often to keep myself warm. Apply some proper cream on your feet. It’s not a good idea to walk bare feet on the road during winters. Take care Mitch.

  8. There is some Indian old story about how the sandals, foot ware was developed. It goes something like this: The ruler was not happy with all the rocks and thorns hurting his feet, so he ordered that the whole land would be smoothened and covered with leater so it would be pleasant to walk thereupon. But his smart advisor suggested that perhaps we could cut pieces of leather and fit to our feet……As a general approach in how one can adapt oneself to the environment rather than adapting the environment to us….

  9. Hi Mike,

    Ramana, recommended that I read this post. As a diabetic; be very careful about using anything that causes, blistering, burning or bleeding of your feet and toes. I am sure you are already aware of this.

    I too suffer from circulation problems due to a heart condition. When people shake hands with me, be it winter or summer, the usual “Nice to meet you” becomes “Gosh, your hands are cold”! Medication for my heart also adds to the problems. I find that only full leather shoes give me any chance of warm feet and I allow for wearing thick socks inside them. Living in Ireland we often have lower temperatures even in summer. A metal hip leaves me feeling like I have a frozen steel girder in my leg. I do use the gel hand warmers with a disk inside that you squeeze to begin the heating process, not for my hands but in my trouser pocket and in the past few winters they have helped keep my ‘metal’ leg warm. My feet would be far to sensitive to put anything in my shoes.

    Have you been checked for Raynaud phenomenon/disease/syndrome? If not it might be worth checking it out. Two suggestions were 1) Do not get cold and 2) think of moving to warmer climes! I wonder if Ramana would take me in?? 😉

    1. Mike, I have checked the information leaflet on a new pack of the hand warmers and there is a warning to be aware of scalding! It goes on to explain: ‘The product heats up to a max 55°C. Do not bring the item into direct contact with the skin; instead, wrap in a cloth or similar’. Hope that helps.

    2. Hi Grannymar; had to read a couple of times to realize you were talking to me; my name is Mitch. lol No, I don’t have any diseases like that; I go to a diabetes clinic & they check stuff all the time. Even went to a podiatrist this year for the first time. I just get really cold feet and it’s miserable. However, it seems my eponymous friend Mitch has offered up the best solution, as I’ve started wrapping my feet in a blanket and, finally, warmth! Can’t do that for my hands but they fare up pretty well.

      1. Mitch, my apologies for getting your name wrong. You can put it down to a senior moment. I often use a blanket over my feet when I am sitting for a long time and I also find that raising my feet off the ground helps.

        Again, my sincere apologies from the absent minded GM. lol

  10. Oh yeah, I know all about cold feet… and the problems of trying to keep them warm when the temperature drops. I’ve currently only one pair of shoes (can’t find another pair as I’ve also got hammer toes, so when these go I don’t know what I’ll do. Indoors I live in sandals and one or two pairs of thick socks) and they are too thin to keep my feet warm so what I do is warm my feet in front of a fan heater (or any heater that has direct heat, so not a radiator)then warm my socks and the shoes, then I’m good to go for about an hour – longer than that though, and it’s back to cold feet.

    I don’t know if the heating thingy you used caused the burning or if it’s your diabetes (though you know you’ve gotta be careful with that) but most of the ones I’ve seen have had warnings on them that they shouldn’t be used by people with circulation problems as they can cause the feet to overheat, so maybe it’s a combination of both?

    Which heating things did you use? Are they the gel type that you have to activate with a littel metal disk or the heated-sock type that come with a battery that attaches to each leg? I’ve not tried either for my feet, but I use the metal disk/gel type for my hands quite successfully and the ones I use never heat up too high – but they still come with a warning for diabetics, etc.

    For indoor use and if you’re not averse to them, there are sheepskin footwarmers that are supposed to be very good. They’re like one big slipper for both feet to go in at the same time. You just slip your feet into them while sitting. Kind of like a comforter for feet!

    1. Actually Val, the type I used was air activated; as soon as you pull off the protective film it’s supposed to start heating up. And it did, as well as other heating pads I’ve used for other areas, though some worked better than others. Supposedly my circulation is good so it’s not due to the diabetes.

  11. So, I watch Shark Tank and I think you should come up with an invention for this problem and blog about the process and everything that goes along with it. I’d be happy to help promote your product.

    1. Do I look like Edison? lol I don’t know how to invent anything except articles! Although I did think of magnifying eyeglasses back in the early 80’s but didn’t say anything; I could have been rich.

  12. There are so many little nerve endings in the feet! And they tend to be so much more delicate than our hands – which we usually expose to the elements more readily and otherwise condition them to be less sensitive. Taking into account your diabetes, along with some of the stories other poster have shared, I’d say steer clear of those kinds of warmers! I gather you’re already a step ahead of me there, though. 🙂 In any case, best of luck in find that happy medium between comfort and warmth (which can be one in the same)!

  13. Since moving to Canada, I’ve been to more hockey games than I’d ever even watched on television. Between you and me, the only thing dumber than the game itself is how many of us are willing to sit in a frozen arena and watch it. When does baseball season start?

    I hope your feet feel better soon, Mitch. That photo is pretty impressive. Did you really take it yourself?

    1. Sure did Charles, and it wasn’t easy. lol And my feet are getting better. You know though, I’ve been to some pretty cold baseball games as well, and that’s worse because you’re outside. But when it’s nice, there’s no more beautiful sport to watch.

  14. Have you ever tried Ugg boots Mitch? I use them around the home in winter and I reckon they’re great as they keep my feet really warm. They can be worn out and many people do. I don’t wear socks but there is no reason why you can’t.

    Naturally you have to make sure you get the natural wool variety and not the synthetic ones.

    1. No I haven’t Sire. Actually, when I’m in the house I hate wearing shoes except light house shoes here and there, and I can’t think of the last time I wore boots. My wife keeps trying to get me to wear a pair I have, but they’re more like shoes with this heavy rubber bottom.

  15. Yeah, I’m staying away from the warmers now, even for my hands, just to make sure I don’t take any chances. I also had to vice up my leg warmers that used the same type of stuff after one really burned my leg badly; at least it didn’t blister.

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