Are you planning a ski trip this holiday season? Winter sports are a fun way to exercise and to get plenty of fresh air. However, the cold weather can be extremely rough on your hands, and cause a hand problem called Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Here at the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, we compiled some relevant information on this hand problem, so you can best prevent and recognize it.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon occurs when the color of the fingers changes as a result of the lack of blood flow to them, typically caused by cold temperatures. The blood vessels in the fingers are extremely thin, and when they become narrow it’s really hard for the blood to flow through them. Typically, the color changes from white to blue to red. In the first phase, when the color of the fingers is white, there’s very little blood flowing to the fingers. In the second phase, the blood accumulates in the fingers, and the color turns blue. Finally, the affected fingers get red when the hand is getting back to a normal state. In addition to the color change, you may also experience numbness, tingling, or clumsiness of the fingers. Raynaud’s Phenomenon can affect one or more fingers at a time, and usually the lack of blood flow lasts for 15 minutes.
Cold temperatures are a common cause of Raynaud’s Phenomenon. People in cold climates usually suffer from this hand problem more often than others. Women are also in higher risk of experiencing the condition. Furthermore, certain diseases such as Scleroderma, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Sjogren Syndrome, and Dermatomyositis can increase the probability of developing Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Also, stress can put you at a higher risk.
In most cases, Raynaud’s Phenomenon is not painful, and the affected fingers tend to go back to their normal state after 15 minutes. However, if you are looking for a long-term solution, it is necessary to see a hand specialist to resolve the problem. Depending on each patient’s unique situation, the treatment options may include non-surgical solutions such as medications and relaxation therapy. If the non-surgical options don’t bring results, a surgery may be needed to improve the blood flow to the fingers.
However, the most effective way to avoid Raynaud’s Phenomenon is prevention. If you know that the cold temperatures trigger this hand problem for you, make sure to keep your body warm at all times, especially in winter. Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothes, and make sure to put on a hat, a scarf and gloves when leaving the house. This is important even in Texas, but it becomes crucial if you’re planning that ski trip to a colder climate. Take breaks during your days on the slopes to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa with your hands around the warm mug, and wrap in warm blankets during your evenings in front of the fire.
If you need hand specialist’s help to resolve Raynaud’s Phenomenon, make an appointment with the Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas today!