Do your feet always feel cold no matter how many pairs of woolen socks you are wearing? Does your partner shriek when you poke him/her playfully with your foot? Most of the times having cold feet is a normal phenomenon which occurs as a result of cold temperature. If your overall health is good, then it is likely that the cause of your cold feet is something harmless. However, cold feet can be also be caused by some serious health problems which can lead to severe complications if not treated on time.

Some Simple Causes for Your Feet to be Always Cold

Some Simple Causes for Your Feet to be Always Cold

The simplest reason why your feet are always cold is lack of warmth. Poor blood circulation is another common reason where your feet do not receive sufficient blood to keep them warm. This occurs as a result of sedentary lifestyle where you are watching TV the whole day or if you have a desk job which requires you to sit in one place for long hours. In such cases, the cold feet can be remedied by taking frequents breaks, getting up, moving around and stretching your legs. Problems with blood circulation can also be caused by underlying medical disorders.

Serious Causes for Your Feet to be Always Cold & Its Treatment

So, above were some harmless causes of cold feet. There are more serious causes of cold feet which should not be ignored and these are:

Feet Always Cold Could Be Due To Raynaud's Disease

In this condition, the patient's fingers and toes tend to feel cold and numb, especially when they are under stress or exposed to cold temperatures. In Raynaud's Disease, there is narrowing of the small arteries which carry blood to the skin thus hindering circulation in some regions of the body. Raynaud's disease commonly affects people who live in colder climates and women are more affected from this disease than men.

Symptoms: Additional symptoms other than feet getting cold include changing of the skin color which turns white, then blue and upon warming up, turns red. As the skin warms up, patient feels painful, prickly, burning sensation.

Treatment: In mild cases of Raynaud's disease, treatment can be done by wearing heavy socks and dressing in multiple layers of clothes. Medications may be prescribed to boost the blood circulation. Patient should consult with the doctor regarding other medications which he/she is taking as some prescription heart medications and over-the-counter cold medications can worsen Raynaud's disease.

Feet Always Cold Could Be Due To Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn't produce sufficient hormones, which keep the body's systems functioning smoothly. The symptoms of hypothyroidism develop gradually and are subtle and they can be mistaken for stress or aging.

Symptoms: Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include sensitivity to cold including cold feet, fatigue, memory problems and weight gain. The skin feels dry, cool and itchy.

Diagnosis & Treatment: Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test. Treatment of hypothyroidism is done with synthetic thyroid hormone which is taken daily. Patient finds relief from cold feet once the treatment is started.

Feet Always Cold Due to Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Peripheral arterial disease or peripheral vascular disease is a condition where there is hardening of the arteries due to buildup of plaque in the walls of the arteries. This leads to narrowing of the arteries and restricted blood supply to the body.

Symptoms: Peripheral Arterial Disease develops very slowly. Typical symptoms include leg discomfort, cramping and pain. Cold feet, pain and redness in the feet and toes are other symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease.

Treatment:Treatment of Peripheral Arterial Disease depends on the extent of the disease and consists of medications and lifestyle changes.

Anemia Can Cause Your Feet to be Always Cold

Anemia is a condition where there is decreased number of healthy red blood cells which are responsible for carrying oxygen all over the body.

Symptoms: Weakness and tiredness is the most common symptom of anemia. Other symptoms are cold hands and feet, shortness of breath, dizziness, pallor and headache.

Treatment:Treatment of anemia depends on the cause of anemia, the type, and its severity. Treatment commonly consists of dietary changes and supplements, such as iron, vitamin C, folic acid, and/or vitamin B12. Treating anemia helps in relieving cold feet.

Feet Always Cold Due to Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a condition of excessive constant/frequent sweating, which commonly occurs in the feet, hands and armpits. Hyperhidrosis is caused by over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system which leads to narrowing of arteries. So, along with sweating of the hands and feet, there is decreased blood circulation, which makes them cold as well as wet from the sweat.

Treatment: Prescription medications are given to the patient for treating hyperhidrosis.

Diabetic Nerve Damage Can Also Cause Your Feet to be Always Cold

One of the types of nerve damage is diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which occurs in people suffering from chronic and poorly managed diabetes.

Symptoms: Symptoms consist of numbness, burning, tingling and pain. Patient also feels coldness in the legs, feet or hands. Symptoms tend to worsen at night.

Treatment: Diabetes should be brought under control. Patient should not soak his/her feet in hot water as they may not to be able to feel if the water is very hot. To warm up the cold feet, patient should wear warm socks, even when sleeping and use an electric blanket at night. It is also important to exercise regularly and wiggle your feet and toes when sitting to help with the blood circulation and to relieve cold feet.

Feet Always Cold Due To Other Types Of Nerve Damage

Other than diabetic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy can also occur as a result of trauma or an injury or from some other underlying medical disease. Patient feels nerve pain giving rise to sensation of cold feet. Peripheral neuropathy can also occur as a result of vitamin deficiency, liver or kidney disease, metabolic issues, infection or sometimes exposure to toxins. Peripheral neuropathy can also be genetic and in some patients, the cause of peripheral neuropathy is not clear. Treating peripheral neuropathy helps in alleviating the cold feet.

Feet Always Cold Due To Smoking

Smoking causes circulation issues, which results in feet always being cold. Buerger's disease is a rare and serious complication which affects the blood vessels in the legs and arms. There is swelling of the blood vessels which hinders the blood flow and causes formation of clots. Initial symptoms consist of cold hands and feet, pain, tissue damage, ulcers, painful sores and even gangrene.

What are Other Symptoms Which Can Occur With Cold Feet?

Cold Feet Associated With Neurologic Symptoms

  • Burning pain is felt, especially at night.
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms or legs.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • A part of the body can become paralyzed.
  • There is weakness or loss of strength.
  • Patient has sensitivity to touch.

Cold Feet Associated With Cardiovascular Symptoms

  • Cyanosis, which is the bluish or pale tint of the skin.
  • There is pain, numbness and heaviness felt in the legs.
  • Pain is felt in the legs, thighs, buttocks, feet and calves with walking.
  • Pain worsens with muscle exertion and subsides with rest.

Cold Feet Associated With Other Symptoms

  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • The skin is cooler on one leg.
  • There is weak hair and nail growth on the affected limb.
  • There is weak pulse in the affected feet and legs.
  • There are slow-healing sores or wounds.

Cold Feet Associated With Serious, Life Threatening Symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness or confusion.
  • Chest pressure or pain.
  • Loss of speech.
  • Inability to move a body part (paralysis).
  • Changes in the vision or loss of vision.
  • Shortness of breath.

Feet Always Cold: CONCLUSION

After reading the above article, you can infer that having cold feet can be from a harmless condition or it can be due to some serious underlying problem. If you are experiencing cold feet with serious symptoms, which are mentioned above, then seek immediate medical help. Having frequent and persistent cold feet accompanied by other symptoms also needs to be checked out by the doctor. So, use your judgment and exercise caution and don't hesitate to seek medical advice if your feet are always cold.

Also Read:

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 10, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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