Cold Feet: Why Are My Feet Always Cold?

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cold feetFrom time to time, we all have dealt with cold feet, whether it be from exposure to below-freezing temperatures or having wet feet. These incidents are normal and no cause for alarm. You need to be aware of the possible medical conditions associated with cold feet if you are asking yourself, “Why are my feet always cold?”

The Causes of Cold Feet

The first thought of why your feet are cold may focus on the warmth of your feet and if the cold could be from damp socks or shoes. If your cold feet condition is a frequent or constant issue, you may want to look at one of the following causes to remedy this problem.

1. Circulation

Poor blood circulation is one of the most common cold feet causes. It results in insufficient amounts of blood to reach the feet, which can be caused by health conditions but is usually associated with your lifestyle. If you sit at a desk all day, your circulation can suffer.

Be active throughout the day by walking around to get the blood pumping properly. Also, you should avoid smoking, as it is a major hindrance to your blood circulation.

2. Medication

There are various types of medication that may cause cold feet as a side effect. These can include beta blockers used for high blood pressure treatment and common cold medications with pseudoephedrine as an ingredient.

3. Raynaud’s Disease

Also known as Raynaud’s syndrome or Raynaud’s phenomenon, this condition is seen mostly in women living in cold climates. It is the result of the arteries narrowing, hindering proper blood circulation.

The fingers and toes are usually affected with the feeling of being cold and with some numbness as the skin changes color. You may notice your skin turning blue and red as the body temperature raises once you get some warmth. The condition is prevalent with stress or exposure to cold temperatures.

Layering clothing and prescribed medication are common treatments.

4. Hypothyroidism

Having cold feet is one of the many symptoms of hypothyroidism, which causes the thyroid gland to be underactive in the production of the thyroid hormone. Your sensitivity to the cold with your feet can extend to other extremities as well as weight gain, fatigue, and loss of memory. Medication is usually prescribed for this condition.

5. Anemia

Regular bouts of cold feet and hands may be the result of the cell condition called anemia. If your level of red blood cells is low, the body cannot get sufficient oxygen required to function properly. The coldness may be accompanied by fatigue, weakness, pale skin, headaches, and shortness of breath.

Most cases are treatable with the intake of iron, vitamins C and B12, and folic acid.

6. Peripheral Arterial Disease

Cold feet may be caused by this condition also known as peripheral vascular disease, or as hardening of the arteries. Improper blood circulation to the feet occurs with the narrowing of the arteries from plaque buildup over time. This plaque can be fat, cholesterol, or other substances.

The cool skin is felt with pain, muscle cramps, and discomfort in the legs and feet. Medication and lifestyle changes are part of the treatment.

7. Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis refers to a condition of excessive sweating as a result of the sympathetic nervous system in overdrive. The arteries narrow and force the extremities to receive less blood circulation and cause cold feet as they sweat.

Medications are needed to treat these symptoms and this condition.

8. Diabetic Nerve Damage

People with diabetes are all-too-familiar with the risk of diabetic peripheral neuropathy if blood sugar levels get too high. Cold feet, pain, tingling, numbness, and burning sensations are part of this condition.

The nerve damage may affect the diabetic’s perception on the level of heat felt with hot water, so they should wear warm socks and use an extra blanket. The frequent movement of toes and feet will help prevent cold feet.

9. Peripheral Neuropathy

Other health conditions can cause peripheral neuropathy that results in cold feet as well as other symptoms. These conditions include infections, toxin poisoning, liver disease, kidney disease, vitamin C deficiency, or metabolic issues. Some nerve damage can result from a gene passed along the family tree.

Symptoms Associated with Cold Feet

It may be strange to think how other parts of the body are affected when your feet are cold, as it is a major concern in itself. Regardless of the cause of the coldness, once exposed to a cold environment or temperature, our core relies on the entire body to maintain warmth. The blood circulation begins changing at the ears and nose before withdrawing from the extremities.

The most common cold feet symptoms felt within the feet or legs include:

  • Burning sensation
  • Tenderness
  • Cramping
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pale skin

Treating Cold Feet

For some people, once their feet are cold, their entire body feels the chill, and it may seem impossible to get warm again. The treatment for any symptom usually depends on the underlying health condition or ailment, and the cold feet symptom is no different. Once blood flow returns to normal functioning, your cold feet should warm up quickly.

There are several cold feet home remedies to try if your condition does not warrant immediate medical attention. If you are always saying to yourself, “My feet are always cold,” perhaps these tips will help remedy this problem for you.

1. Warm Oil Massage

Use heated olive, coconut, or sesame oil as a massaging oil on cold feet. Apply gentle pressure during the 10-minute treatment. Repeat twice a day and wear warm socks after each massage.

2. Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is the most popular treatment for cold feet.

Soak feet in cold water for two minutes and switch to a basin of hot water for one minute. Alternate between the cold and hot water during a 15-minute time span. Repeat twice a day and end each session by completely drying your feet before putting socks on.

3. Foot Exercises

Strengthen the blood vessels while promoting good blood flow by performing these foot exercises whenever your feet are cold:

  • Stand straight and lift up on your toes and back onto your heels for 10 minutes.
  • Sit in a chair and rotate your feet at the ankles first clockwise and then counterclockwise; repeat 20 times.
  • Walk on your toes and then switch to your heels only for 15 minutes.
  • Stretch your toes and feet by using your toes to pick up a cloth or pencil several times.

4. Epsom Salt

Increase your body’s level of magnesium by using half a cup of Epsom salts in warm water. Soak your feet for 15 minutes twice each week.

5. Ginger

Promote blood circulation and warming of the body with the use of ginger. Mix one tablespoon of sliced ginger with water to simmer on the stovetop for 10 minutes. Strain and add honey before drinking two to three times each day.

You can also boil sliced ginger in water for a foot soak treatment for 15 minutes. Repeat twice a day.

6. Green Tea

Help the proper functioning of your blood vessels by drinking two or three cups of green tea each day. You can also use three to four teabags in a foot soak solution of boiled water for a 10-minute treatment twice each day.

7. Pepper

Warm up your feet and alleviate other symptoms simply by sprinkling cayenne or black pepper into your socks before wearing them. You may want to put on a thin sock before the one containing the cayenne pepper.

Preventing Cold Feet

An impossible feat for some, avoiding cold temperatures and wearing socks are sometimes not enough to prevent cold feet. The issue at hand has to be dealt with, especially if your cold feet are the result of poor circulation.

Lifestyle changes, changes in eating habits, and precautionary measures may help, such as:

  • Consuming iron and magnesium-enriched foods such as spinach, lentils, almonds, fortified cereals, avocados, whole grains, and seaweed.
  • Maintaining a diet low in fat, cholesterol, and salt
  • Enjoying fruits and vegetables.
  • Partaking in yoga exercises.
  • Quitting and avoid smoking.
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Having regular medical checkups.

Having cold feet may not seem like a serious issue until it becomes a regular part of your daily life. Cold feet can set off a reaction throughout the body causing you to feel completely chilled.

If wearing warm socks does not seem to resolve the issue, then you should consider if an underlying health condition is to blame. There are also home remedies to consider when experiencing cold feet and ways to possibly prevent having cold feet at any time.



Sources:
“Cold Feet,” Health Grades, October 1, 2016; https://www.healthgrades.com/symptoms/cold-feet, last accessed May 31, 2017.
Dilonardo, M. J., “Why Are My Feet Always Cold?” Mother Nature Network, March 8, 2016; http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/why-are-my-feet-always-cold, last accessed May 31, 2017.
Innes, W., “Cold Feet Symptoms,” Symptom Find, May 7, 2016; https://www.symptomfind.com/symptoms/cold-feet/, last accessed May 31, 2017.
Kolodenker, G., “Cold Feet: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options,” Foot Vitals, October 1, 2015; http://www.footvitals.com/nerves/cold-feet.html, last accessed May 31, 2017.
Beresford, L., “Home Remedies For Cold Feet,” Authority Remedies, January 27, 2016; https://authorityremedies.com/home-remedies-for-cold-feet/, last accessed May 31, 2017.

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