Post Frostbite "Kit"

Feb 06

Post Frostbite "Kit"

VibramClassicOk, so it’s a week since my Sunday Frostbite fiasco.  Winter walking will never be the same.

First of all, there seems to be some permanent damage – especially in the fourth toe on my left foot – the one that went gray.    Dead as a doornail, that one.  The rest are tingly at the tips, some are still a little tender, but not bad.  Yesterday I was able to wear my normal shoes without pain, though, so that was great.

Last night I visited some “new” friends – well, I was actually his Gr. 12 prom date, and haven’t seen him since… I found him on Facebook, connected with his brilliant wife – who seems to be my twin separated from me at birth – and she’s into Essential Oils.  Last night while we visited at their lovely country home, Sue offered to massage my feet with some Essential Oils (not many people have offered to massage my feet EVER, let alone after knowing me for fewer than 12 hours…).  This morning my toes felt irritated more than usual, which gives me hope that this oil mix/massage might be waking up some of those dead nerves.  We’ll see what happens over the next few days.

I saw the doctor on Friday and he made it clear that I must now be extremely cautious for the rest of my life as I am now 10x more likely to get frostbite again.  As someone who has freezing feet even at the height of summer, I felt somewhat doomed by that statement, and knew I had to re-think winter walking.


Today my most-generous-of-all-wonderful-husbands drove me down to Gord’s Running Store to check out some different options.  The problem is that Vibrams strengthen all the foot muscles and allow your feet to work the way they were designed to.  “Normal” running shoes don’t – they support everything to the point that the muscles in your feet atrophy, and no longer work the way they were designed to work.  By switching between the two you end up living in a place where you go from body-builder to wheelchair-bound and back again – at least as far as your feet are concerned.  WAAAAY too much work!

I explained my dilemma to the incredibly helpful saleswoman, and told her I don’t want to spend six weeks during the peak training season re-strengthening my feet when the snow goes and the temperature warms up, and I can be back in my Vibrams.

biom5She directed me to Biom Shoes.  You have to sacrifice your first born to afford them (Simon’s a good kid, he won’t mind…) but they apparently encourage natural motion in your foot and they keep the foot muscles strong. Not everyone believes they achieve that, but my options are limited at this point in time.

Knowing that the real key is keeping my feet warm at all times, I bought the shoe two sizes too big after trying them on with double socks – one very thick hiking sock and a standard fitness sock – and insoles, because I’m also going to be investing in thermal insoles.

While I was there I got two pairs of Injinji Outdoor socks made with micro-fine Merino wool to make sure my toes don’t rub together and get lesions that get infected without me knowing it (when your toes are injinjiOutdoorsocksnumb, you don’t know there’s a problem…) and also to keep my feet warm, as Merino wool is “excellent at regulating body temperature, especially when worn against the skin. The wool provides some warmth, without overheating the wearer. It draws moisture (sweat) away from the skin, a phenomenon known as wicking. The fabric is slightly moisture repellent (keratin fibers are hydrophobic at one end and hydrophillic at the other), allowing the user to avoid the feeling of wetness” (according to Wikipedia)  And, of course, I can wear these in cooler Spring/Autumn temperatures in my Vibrams and still keep my tootsies warm.

Finally I got some ice-grips.  A few close calls made me realize that adding a numb head to numb toes would make walking impossible (though I’m sure many of you think the head’s already numb…) so I decided to not take any chances.

And there went the second child – thanks, Tina!  LOL!

So now I have cool gear on my feet to keep the toes toasty, I’m all set to go!   I’m breaking in the new shoes over this weekend, and I’ll do an easy 1 hour on Monday to test them out.

Wish me luck!


(PS – who was it who said that walking is a very inexpensive sport?)

(PS – and never fear! I’ll be back in my beloved Vibrams once the temperatures are above 10˚C!)

(PPS – Oh, and just kidding there about exchanging my kids for cool gear.   The kids are here and safe…)

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  1. I guess, I’m lucky to not have foot problem like you had. But may I know the price of those shoes and shocks? I’m interested to know more about it.


    admin Reply:

    Hi, Graham,

    I’m not sure where you are located, but if you’re in Canada you can purchase Vibram 5-Finger shoes at Mountain Equipment Co-op. If you’re not in Canada, check the Vibram 5-Finger website for options.


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