Trevor Lane Podiatry

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What Can Cause Cold Feet?

“Cold feet” has come to mean that somebody is nervous or apprehensive about a major undertaking such as marriage – maybe because it’s true, stress CAN make your feet cold!

The soles of your feet have thousands of sweat glands, and since stress and sweating go hand in hand, your feet can feel clammy and cold.

putting socks on cold feet

What Causes Cold Feet?

In cold weather, blood flow around your body is constricted. Your vital organs require more blood to function, and there’s less blood circulating to the extremities, like your feet. 

While they’re normal during winter, cold feet may be caused by other factors like:

  • Lack of iron in your diet. If you don’t consume and absorb enough iron, you may not have enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen around your body. 
  • Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. The thyroid controls your metabolism, which regulates body temperature and blood flow.
  • Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes may cause nerve damage, so see your podiatrist urgently if you are experiencing numbness, or pins and needles, or feeling cold in your feet.
  • Raynaud’s Disease. Smaller arteries that supply blood to the skin become narrow, limiting blood flow to fingers or toes. Your feet may be numb, and they may appear white or blue.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis. Similar to Raynaud’s disease, your feet may change colour when it’s cold outside. The tiny blood vessels and nerves in your feet are affected, leading to numbness and tingly sensations.
  • High blood pressure. Peripheral Arterial Disease narrows the arteries, restricting blood flow to the legs.
  • Poor circulation. This is common as we age, but it may also occur due to obesity, blood clots and even sitting too much.

Addressing the underlying cause is the best way to go about solving the problem of cold feet.

Cold Feet at Night

Cold feet can stop you having a good night’s rest, by making it hard to fall asleep or by waking you up in the wee hours.

Pre-warming the bed and wearing thick socks can help your toes feel toasty all night long.

When To Be Concerned

Although cold feet might seem like a minor complaint, you should be concerned if you have cold feet AND any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Weight changes
  • Numbness
  • Severe Pain
  • Sores on the feet which won’t heal

If so, make an urgent appointment with a medical professional, to find out what’s going on.

How to Stop Cold Feet

In order to warm up those frozen feet, here are a few simple tips:

  • Make sure your whole body is warm, not just your feet.
  • Woollen socks are better than cotton, especially if teamed with boots or slippers.
  • Try to be more active by walking or exercising every day, as this helps improve blood circulation. 
  • Put your feet up on a pillow when lying down, and use a wheat bag, hot water bottle or electric blanket to prewarm the bed.

The good news is that cold feet are normally harmless, but there are times when it could be a sign that something serious is going on in your body. So if you’re concerned about cold feet, get in touch with us today!