About Cold Feet:
Cold feet are defined as a medical condition where people feel that their feet are cold or cold to touch or both. There are some people who seem to have a constant feeling of ‘cold’ in their feet. In some cases, wearing multiple pairs of socks does seem to help much. In absence of other medical conditions, the possible causes of cold feet are relatively harmless and often temporary. However, in some cases, cold feet may be traced to serious health issues. The most common reason for this condition is lack of warmth which in turn may be caused due to poor circulation and inadequate blood supply to the lower limbs. It has been noted that cool feet is more common among people who lead a sedentary lifestyle and long hours of desk jobs.
8 Reasons Why Your Feet is Always Cold
As mentioned earlier, issues with blood circulation is the prime cause of cold feet. Cold feet may be associated with multiple medical conditions. The most common causes of cold feet are discussed below:
In Raynaud’s disease, the affected individual feels cold in their fingers and toes when exposed to cold temperature or stress. It is a manifestation of poor circulation caused as the arteries supplying blood to the skin becomes narrow. This limits the blood supply to toes and fingers causing a sensation of feeling cold. It is more common among women and population living in colder climates. Besides cold feet, the symptoms are associated with change in skin colour (from white to blue to red). As the skin begins to warm up, there is usually a burning/ prickly sensation in the toes and finger along with pain and discomfort. With known history of Raynaud’s disease, it is advised to wear heavy socks especially when exposed to cold temperature to stay warm. Medications may also help in improving circulation.
Hypothyroidism as a Reason for having the Feet always Cold:
Hypothyroidism is a condition characterised by under active thyroid where there is inadequate production of hormones by the thyroid glands. This affects the normal functioning of the body. Hypothyroidism is characterised by presence of multiple symptoms one among which is intolerance to cold and cold feet. This issue is diagnosed with a blood test and is treated with synthetic hormone supplements as prescribed by the physician.
Anemia is a medical condition where there is adequate production of red blood cells for oxygenation of tissues. It is generally associated with weakness and lack or energy, but other symptoms include cold extremities as well as shortness of breath, pale skin, headache and dizziness. Treatment modality is often decided based on the severity of the condition and in most of the cases includes dietary modifications and additional supplements such as iron, folic acid and other vitamins.
Peripheral Arterial Disease:
Peripheral arterial disease or atherosclerosis is a condition where there is hardening of the arteries. This happens when there is accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other elements building up against the inner wall of the arteries leading to narrowing of the lumen and disturbances in the blood flow. There may be discomfort in the lower limbs associated with cold feet, cramping, change in colour etc. due to insufficient blood supply. Treatment generally depends on the extent of the condition along with medications and lifestyle changes.
Hyperhidrosis as a Reason for Cold Feet:
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term used to describe excessive sweating typically in the feet, hands and armpit. This is caused due to over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system which leads to narrowing of the arteries. Insufficient blood flow causes a feeling of coldness in the extremities along with wetness from sweating. Prescription medication often helps in management of the condition.
Diabetes may cause damage to the peripheral nerves (peripheral neuropathy). This is associated with tingling sensation in the feet and hands along with feeling of coldness, numbness, burning and pain which worsens at night while sleeping. Treatment includes improvement of blood circulation in feet along with medication for diabetes.
Other Nerve Damage as a Cause of Having Feet Always Cold:
Besides, diabetic nerve damage, damage to any other nerves in the body can lead to similar symptoms. Cold feet may also be associated with kidney issues, liver diseases, vitamin deficiency, accumulation of toxic material in the body, metabolic issues etc. Genetic condition may also be responsible for cold feet.
Smoking can cause circulation issues which may lead to cold feet. Buerger’s disease is a rare condition which may compromise blood circulation leading to feeling on coldness in hands and feet. It this is left untreated, it can also lead to extreme tissue damage, sores, ulcers and even gangrene.
Diagnosis of Cold Feet
It is advised to visit a doctor if sensation of cold feet is experienced frequently. Other symptoms that may be associated with cold feet and should be watched out for includes:
- Soreness over toes and finger which do not heal
- Burning or tingling sensation in feet
- Weight changes
- Joint issues
- Change in colour of texture of the skin predominantly in the feet area
- Generalized fatigue
- Numbness over the affected area
On visiting the doctor, a detailed case history is obtained followed by a physical examination. Signs of trauma and nerve damage are looked for closely. A blood work may be ordered to rule out diabetes, thyroid issues and anemia. An ECG (electrocardiogram) may be done to evaluate the circulation and cardiac functioning. Specialized tests such as ankle brachial index test are done to measure blood pressure in different limbs. In some cases, ultrasonography may be helpful to reach a conclusion.
Treatment of Cold Feet
Treatment of cold feet depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Exercises may be recommended to improve the circulation in the lower limbs. Calcium channel blockers may be prescribed in cases of association with heart diseases. Anemia, hypothyroidism and diabetes are treated with specialized medication and change in lifestyle. Cold feet due to Raynaud’s phenomenon can be managed with appropriate precautions.
- Flat Feet or Pes Planus or Fallen Arches
- Benefits of Foot Rollers for Feet: Relieve your Tired Feet!
- Procedure of Foot Spa and its Benefits: Taking Care of your Feet!
- Burning Sensation in Feet: Causes, Treatment, Prevention, Diagnosis
- What Does Warm Sensation in the Feet Indicate?
- Reflexology Pressure Points in Hands and Feet
- What Causes Your Feet to be Always Cold & its Symptoms, Treatment