©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Frostbite

Question:

What was your experience with frostbite? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: BlueToeGuy, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 09

While sledding wearing plastic rain boots in 45 degrees F, my toes starting hurting terribly. I couldn't believe I could get frostbite so easily in these conditions. They continued to hurt for weeks and remained sensitive. Two years later, one toe became very sensitive and the tip turned dark blue. The skin got calloused over weeks and eventually fell off. The toe was normal again. Months later, it's starting to hurt and turn blue again. I take super-hot baths, which may exacerbate it.

Comment from: Gregory , 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

In winter of 77-78 we had a historic blizzard with months of intense cold and high winds in Indiana (US). High school closed weeks due to the conditions. My friends and I spent much of this time sledding down a hilly street and across a creek every day. We battled the pain of our cold extremities to bask in the glory of freedom. No diagnosis of frostbite but my hands were white and tingled each day. Increasingly, I developed cold sensitivity, inability to grasp, and pain today is debilitating in mild cold of 50 F.

Comment from: Josiah, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: July 22

As a kid, I had apparent frostbite in my foot by the pinky toe. Thereafter, the area was sensitive to cold, and susceptible. As an adult, I stayed in wet socks on a cool spring day and this caused damage to that area. After that day of wet socks, my foot has alternated between being numb, painful or okay. It seems that atmospheric pressure (like during a storm), temperature and dampness affects it. Please take care of yourself and never let your extremities stay cold!

Comment from: sue, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 21

I fell on our garage floor, temperature was 30 below. The frostbite burns to my buttocks were so painful; also nerve pain. Collagen was put on feet wounds and it worked. I had ten weeks out suffering from numb feet, and still put no weight on one heel as skin is thin. So scary.

Comment from: ccpitt, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I was post-operation from bunionectomy/hammertoe surgery. It's been determined by my physician that unfortunately, I developed significant frostbite likely due to the cryotherapy machine used post-operation. Of course, this has impacted my recovery and return to work. The area is still being monitored (black toe and hard skin) with the possibility of a skin graft in my future. The temperature on the machine was set to 43 degrees F (pre-set by the machine representative) so, I was shocked at this development!

Comment from: ElizabethS, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 10

I fell down in my yard, lost my balance and had a bad fall. My left thigh/buttock landed on an electrical group and wire rod that was sticking out of the ground about 2-3 inches. All my body weight fell onto this rod causing a very painful, deep bruising. I immediately applied a gel pack ice pack to the thigh/hip area and due to the pain from the bruising. The ice pack was left on the injured area for approx. 30 minutes without using a towel or cloth between my skin and the ice pack. The injured area had become completely numb and when I removed the ice pack, the area underneath was completely WHITE and NUMB. The area looked like defrosted chicken breast and felt like rubber. I removed the ice pack and tried to warm the area by staying outside (70 degree weather) for a few minutes. The area stayed white and continued to be numb. I then cut an aloe leaf off my plant and started applying it directly to the area, it was sore to the touch, burned and was stinging. I continued with the aloe for hours into the next 48 hours. It has now been 72 hours since the injury and I started using Neosporin on the burn and almost all the normal skin color has returned except for an area about 3X3 inches.

Comment from: R BlackSmoke, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: March 05

I drank a bottle of rum in an unheated garage for a few hours in -30 C weather. I gained 2nd degree frostbite only on my right 4 fingers and thumb.

Comment from: Nathan, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: September 20

It was probably about -39 that day and being a follower I decided to go to my friend's. Upon leaving the house, I passed out into a snow bank for about two minutes then continued on my way. I was only outside for about 15 minutes and my hands were frozen solid. Through the walk I was disoriented and not in the right state of mind. I knew something wasn't right but I just couldn't put my finger on it. (Like the pun?)I made it to school and eventually my father came and picked me up and brought me to the hospital. I was told that if I were to be outside any longer I would have had to get an amputation. I had to go through the unthawing of my hands. The water was only around lukewarm, but it felt like my hands were on fire.

Comment from: toogie 828, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I experienced frostbite on my feet. I felt a sharp pain and tingling sensations.

SLIDESHOW

Rosacea, Acne, Shingles, Covid-19 Rashes: Common Adult Skin Diseases See Slideshow
Comment from: LuckCharms, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 01

I was skiing down the backside when I stumbled on a thick snow drift that I had to swim out of. In the process, I lost my left glove and by the time I arrived at the base, my hand was white and my fingers were getting tiny blue pins. The mountain medical staff stuck my hand in a bowl of water and it burned like crazy so I tested the temperature with my right and the water was actually ice cold. I remember thinking “This is not good!” Now, 15 years later when my left hand gets cold (but especially cold and wet) it claws up and aches until it's finally warm again.

Published: February 07

When I got frostbite, I had to have amputations and medications.

Comment from: 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: January 24

I work for a telecommunications company in the Northern Plains of the U.S. and I have been exposed to -40 F conditions more than once. I have frostbite or "nipped" my finger tips multiple times over the last two years of working in these conditions. I haven't needed medical attention yet, but I am starting to wonder what kind of nerve damage or long-term effects I will have. I have to work with lighter lined gloves so I am able to grip my lines and have dexterity with my hand tools. When I nip my fingers they seem swollen and sensitive to pressure for 3-5 days. The last time they peeled like calluses. I am hoping to find a better glove and stay more hydrated now.

Comment from: jenny, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 10

I was exposed to -35 Celsius for 6 minutes outside with bare feet when coyotes were attacking my dog. I have severe blisters that are turning black and have no feeling whatsoever to my toes and I am told this is second-degree frostbite and that it can become worse with time.

Comment from: Montana Merce, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 03

I have had frost bite complications on two toes for eight years. They turn colors and itch and peel.

Comment from: Papsan10, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: November 08

In 1952, while serving in North Korea in the area of Pork Chop hill, the month was March. The outfit I was with was ordered to turn in all the winter gear and draw summer outfits. The very night it snowed and we moved to a new position but took about eight hours. Being in a cramped position for such a long time, my feet became numb and I could not stand on them. When I finally had a chance to go bed (in a sleeping bag with boots on), my feet where burning and I could not sleep. The next morning, I reported to the medics and they sent me to field hospital where they cut my boots and found blisters and burst them, wrapped them with gauze and sent me back to duty. My feet killed me that day and night. I went back the next day and I was put on a stretcher and eventually sent to the 121st Evacuation Hospital and remained there for three weeks under a blanket with a light bulb on my (great) toes. I have not had any treatment, since but only to be compensated with a 10% disability while I have struggled in pain with horrible nail growth and tingling that has grown worse over the years. I wonder if amputation would have been better.

Comment from: Ilona, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 12

Two years ago, I noticed odd, dark-blue areas on several of my toes. I went to a podiatrist, who diagnosed frostbite. She was surprised that I could have it without knowing. I suspect that initially it was mild, but that the weekly pedicures in hot water I was giving myself at the time increased the damage to the tissues. I now know to avoid extremes of temperature on my toes, but to this day one of my toes in particular is much darker than the others, almost purple. From time to time, the side of it swells up looks quite a bit redder, and is very tender to the touch, and then, after a while, the redness fades (back to its normal bluish-purple), and the discomfort goes away. Sometimes the end of the toe develops what looks like a callous, a patch of skin which grows dryer and whiter and which, after a few days, falls off. This isn't usually uncomfortable. It's not serious, but it is kind of odd to watch your toe morph into and out of weird states of being...

Comment from: A.K., 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 15

I went to Antarctica in Feb/March this year (2010) and stupidly kept leaving the gloves off my left hand in order to keep changing and cleaning the lenses on my main camera as it was snowing heavily on some days. I found that my left hand (although there was no VISIBLE damage) went 'claw like' and would freeze into a position, it was also very painful. I kept it in warm wearing waterproof gloves from then on, but for three weeks it remained very painful to move any of the fingers. Once back at home it continued to hurt and so I wore a light colored wool glove over it to work each day. I noticed that if I carried a shopping bag in that hand it would again freeze into the curled position and I would single handedly have to uncurl each finger to straighten my hand back out. It is now June and I am still having to do that now, the hand is still very painful on certain days, but not every day, damp weather affects it and when it’s cooler, it will get very painful. I am right handed luckily, but as I type this my left hand is covered in a warm woolen glove.

QUESTION

Ringworm is caused by a fungus. See Answer
CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors