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Frost Nip
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By randy88fj62
Jan 17, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
Was ice climbing this past weekend in the coldest weather I have ever experienced in my life (I'm from California.) The weather was -15F as we hit the trail at dawn.

Ice climbed all day in temps below 20F and my right foot never truly warmed up.

Fast forward 5 days to this afternoon and my right big toe has numbness at the tip. Feels like it's asleep. There is no noticable difference in appearance between my big toes. Pressing on both big toes I see the blood rush back at the same rate.

How long can I expect this frost nip to stay? Other than keeping it warm and watching it, is there anything I can do to expedite the healing process?

I was in Koflach plastic boots with old open cell foam liners. I will be upgrading to closed cell foam liners before my next winter outing.

So, who has had frost nip? Any input would be great. The health tips via google don't say jack about frost nip other than it exists...

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By JWong
From Los Angeles, California
Jan 17, 2013
Here's an article from Climbing that just came out.

climbing.com/skill/prevent-and...

I'm not sure there is much more you can do. As long as it doesn't hurt, I wouldn't worry too much.

JW

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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Jan 17, 2013

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By Ryan Hill
From Oakland, CA
Jan 17, 2013
It happens and over time, as it happens more often, your feet(or at least mine) become more susceptible to the cold. Not much you can do other than preventative measures next time you are out. Feeling will return over time (after one particularly bad epic overnight I lost feeling in my big toes for two months). Sounds like upgrading your liners is a good idea.

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By David Appelhans
From Lafayette
Jan 17, 2013
Imaginate
I've had it last a couple months. No adverse affects after that, unless that is why my toes hurt alot when there is pressure on the big toenail from climbing shoes.

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By Buff Johnson
Jan 17, 2013
smiley face
it's not frost nip; sounds more like poor circulation for some reason, poor fitting boots or whatever

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By John D
Jan 17, 2013
I had the same thing happen a couple of summers ago after spending 2 weeks in wet shoes and socks in snow and temperatures above and below freezing. My toes were numb for about a month, but now they're back to normal.

If you're really concerned about it, you can talk to a Dr. about some medicine that will dilate your blood vessels and improve your circulation and speed healing.

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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Jan 17, 2013
Axes glistening in the sun
Were your boots tight at all? Maybe a nerve impingement? Try some whiskey? Did you try popping your big toe?

I got minor frostbite from winter survival school while trying to dig out a snow cave with a flipping e-tool just wearing my wool inserts (idiot). Hands have never been the same since. Weather drops below 60 and it's hard for me to climb rock, especially if it's in the shade. Have several pairs of gloves for ice climbing that are ok, but my hands get cold & clublike anyway. The nerves in my hands are damaged I believe. Reynauds Syndrome.

Sucks ass!

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By Graham Johnson
Jan 18, 2013
This does not sound like frost nip - this sounds like "bang toe". Repeated pressure on toes (either from banging into the front of the boot, or constant pressure against the front of the boot, or some other cause) causes them to go numb. It can last weeks/months. Nothing you can really do to speed up recovery to my knowledge. Usually results from poor fitting boots. Bang toe is a nerve injury. It will heal, eventually.

Cold injuries (frostbite/nip) result in damage to tissue. If you can't see any visible difference between your "normal" toe and your affected toe, it's probably not cold-related. The fact that your CRT (capillary refill time - a measure of how well the blood vessels in the tissue are carrying blood) is the same between both says that there is also no tissue damage (otherwise the blood vessels would be damaged too). They also usually hurt a fair bit once they thaw out.

For what it's worth, I have had bang toe, frost nip and frostbite. And I know a bit about how bodies work.

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By mworst03
Jan 18, 2013
Graham probably diagnosed this one as toe bang. After my first 4 day long ice climbing trip I had the same issue...Took about 3 weeks and it was back to normal. If I remember correct I had a day or two of that tingling feeling you get when your foot "falls asleep".

Found out that my second hand boots that I thought were a 13 were a 12.5 and despite having worn them on a few mountaineering trips it wasn't until I was kicking hard ice that the problem came up.

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By randy88fj62
Jan 18, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
Graham Johnson wrote:
This does not sound like frost nip - this sounds like "bang toe". Repeated pressure on toes (either from banging into the front of the boot, or constant pressure against the front of the boot, or some other cause) causes them to go numb. It can last weeks/months. Nothing you can really do to speed up recovery to my knowledge. Usually results from poor fitting boots. Bang toe is a nerve injury. It will heal, eventually. Cold injuries (frostbite/nip) result in damage to tissue. If you can't see any visible difference between your "normal" toe and your affected toe, it's probably not cold-related. The fact that your CRT (capillary refill time - a measure of how well the blood vessels in the tissue are carrying blood) is the same between both says that there is also no tissue damage (otherwise the blood vessels would be damaged too). They also usually hurt a fair bit once they thaw out. For what it's worth, I have had bang toe, frost nip and frostbite. And I know a bit about how bodies work.


I hope you're right Graham. The Koflach boots I bought were not tight fitting. They were just a tad big. It is possible that since my toes were numb that I could have slammed it into the ice.

Thanks for all the input everyone. I'll report back as it heals.

FLAG
By randy88fj62
Jan 30, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
FYI:
Feeling is slowly coming back. No skin ever peeled off so I'm guessing it was "bang toe" as you call it.

FLAG


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