OBJECTIVE: To assess whether previous freezing cold injuries (FCI) would affect digit skin temperatures and rewarming rates during a follow-up cold stress test protocol.; DESIGN: Nonrandomized control trial.; METHODS: Twenty elite alpinists participated; alpinists with previous FCI requiring digit amputations (injured, INJ: n = 10 total, n = 8 male) were compared with ability-matched, uninjured alpinists (control, CON: n = 10, all male). Digit skin temperature was measured using infrared thermography as an index of peripheral digit perfusion after a cold stress test, which consisted of 30 minutes of immersion in 8°C water.; RESULTS: The INJ alpinists' injured toes were warmer (approximately 6%) than their uninjured toes immediately after cold immersion (95% CI, 0.01°C to 1.00°C; P = .05); there were no differences between the rates of rewarming of injured and uninjured toes (INJ, 0.5° ± 0.1°C/min; CON, 0.7° ± 0.3°C/min; P = .16). Although the INJ alpinists had colder injured fingers immediately after the 35°C warm bath compared with their own uninjured fingers (32.2° ± 2.0°C vs 34.5° ± 0.5°C; P = .02), there were no differences observed between the rates of rewarming of injured and uninjured fingers after cold exposure (INJ, 1.1° ± 0.2°C/min; CON, 1.3° ± 0.5°C/min; P = .22).; CONCLUSIONS: Even after FCI that requires digit amputation, there is no evidence of different tissue rates of rewarming between the injured and uninjured fingers or toes of elite alpinists.
2015. Vol. 26, no 3