Cold feet, but in the literal sense? If it’s winter, you may have to deal with icy feet and need slippers over your socks to keep them warm. Or maybe you suffer from them all year long, and cold weather only intensifies the cold.
There are several things that can cause them: sometimes the case is benign (it’s just your own body physiology), while other times there may be underlying medical reasons that you would need to get checked.
- 1 Why do you always have cold feet?
- 2 How to warm cold feet?
Why do you always have cold feet?
You are more sensitive to cold weather
Yes, this sounds completely like an overly obvious answer, but there’s a pretty clear reason for it: cold feet can occur in winter when the body decreases blood flow to the area. This is more common in colder months when the body tries to keep the rest of itself warm while slowing heat loss through the feet.
Wearing extra thick socks can help you combat frostbite in this case.
You have a nutrient deficiency
Iron and vitamin B12 are two nutrients necessary for proper blood circulation. Iron is a component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen to the body, while B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. A deficit in either of the two can contribute to cold feet. You may also notice numbness and tingling in your feet if you are lacking B12.
People who are most at risk of running out of iron include pregnant women or women who experience heavy periods, as well as those with gastrointestinal illnesses like celiac disease or ulcerative colitis. B12 deficiency is more likely in people with digestive or vegetarian diseases, pregnant or lactating.
You could have a circulatory disease
If not enough blood flow to your feet, you may always feel cold. Some diseases that can cause poor circulation include diabetes, obesity, and Raynaud’s , a condition that causes spasms in the blood vessels.
A sign that there is a problem with circulation: your skin may change color. For example, in Raynaud’s, the fingers and toes may turn white or blue in response to this lack of blood flow. Treatment with medications such as calcium channel blockers may be recommended to keep blood vessels open if you are diagnosed with Raynaud.
You could have damaged nerves
Poor blood sugar control can lead to nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy. You may also experience numbness and tingling. This is because these damaged nerves stop sending messages to certain parts of your body.
Diabetes statistics show that about half of people with the condition also have nerve damage. If you have diabetes, you will want to work with your doctor to control your blood sugar level.
You can have thyroid disease
One of the hallmark symptoms of an underactive thyroid (called hypothyroidism ) is cold intolerance, something that can make you feel like your feet are perpetually cold. You may even feel frigid due to the result that your body generally slows down. Other symptoms include dry skin, forgetfulness, depression, and constipation. If your doctor suspects that a thyroid condition is causing your cold feet, you can order blood tests to check your thyroid function.
You are taking a beta blocker
Beta-blockers are prescribed in certain circumstances to treat high blood pressure. These drugs work by slowing down the heart. When this happens, it can affect circulation in the body, especially in the extremities such as the hands and feet.
Cold hands and feet, fatigue, and weight gain are common side effects of beta-blockers. If these symptoms are bothersome, continue taking your medication as prescribed and talk to your doctor about other medication options or the best way to deal with this side effect.
You are under stress or feel anxious
A couple of things happen when you’re stressed or dealing with anxiety: The fight or flight response directs blood flow from your hands and feet to your vital organs (to help you flee, if necessary). You can also start to sweat, and this naturally cools your body down. Although this is not dangerous, it is important to understand how your body reacts to stress and to consider whether you need to develop stress management strategies that work best for you.
Do you smoke
Smoking can make you prone to cold feet. This habit constricts the blood vessels, which can make the toes (and fingers) generally cold.
It is also linked to the development of a condition called Buerger’s disease, which is where clots form in the blood vessels that restrict blood flow to certain areas. Tobacco irritates blood vessels and sets the stage for this inflammatory cascade. The hands and feet may feel cold, have a burning, tingling, or pain sensation. The only way to prevent or stop Buerger problems, such as tissue damage and pain, is to quit smoking.
How to warm cold feet?
Slippers are always a good idea, but there are things you can do beyond that to warm up your toes.
First, be active. You can try moving your feet and legs back and forth to help recirculate blood in your extremities. You can also stimulate circulation by massaging your feet or squeezing and loosening your toes.
If these little tips don’t help or the color of your feet or toes changes, see a doctor.