Do your feet feel like ice cubes, even when the rest of your body is warm? There are many people that experience cold feet, often due to a problem associated with their circulation or nerves. For some, this just may be the way their body works, but for others, it can be a symptom of a more serious condition that could need medical attention.
First of all, your feet are the farthest extremity from your heart, making them the last to receive the warmth of circulating blood. When the temperature outside the body is cold, your body conserves its resources to keep the core of the body warm. This means your extremities, like your feet, receive less blood flow and become colder, quicker. This is simply the body’s way of protecting vital organs from the cold and may be the reason you experience cold feet.
Circulation Problems and Cold Feet
If blood flow is restricted, this can be a cause for cold feet. Restricted blood flow can be a sign of arterial disease or other issues that affect the circulation of your blood. Some of the common circulation issues that can cause your feet to feel cold include:
- Artery blockage. Those with peripheral artery disease may experience artery blockages that can restrict blood flow, especially to the feet. They may experience cold feet around-the-clock, or only be more sensitive to the cold when temperatures drop or when their feet are elevated.
- Narrowing arteries. If the arteries have become more narrow, blood flow may be restricted, resulting in poor circulation to the feet. Raynaud’s phenomenon is one example of a vascular issue where the arteries narrow. Usually those with this condition only have cold toes, not the entire foot.
- If you have cold toes that are also blue in color, you may have acrocyanosis. This is a condition where arteries overreact to the cold and restrict, causing a lack of circulation to the feet.
Nerve Conditions and Cold Feet
Sometimes circulation is not the problem; in fact, your feet may not really be cold at all, only feel like they are cold. Nerve conditions can send your brain the message that your feet are cold, even when they are not. The saying “He has cold feet” has a deeper rooted meaning than just being nervous or afraid. When you are nervous, the blood vessels can restrict in response, causing cold feet in a very literal sense.
Other types of nerve conditions can also make your feet feel cold. Diabetes can affect the nerves and the circulation, creating a double-sided cause for cold feet. Other types of neuropathy that are caused by injury or internal damage to the nerves can also affect how your brain interprets temperature in your feet.
Treating Cold Feet
The most important aspect of treating cold feet is understanding the cause. Ensuring that you do not have a serious health condition which is causing this symptom is the most important step in treatment. Cold feet can be a sign of diabetes, hypothyroidism, anemia and other diseases. Seeing your physician for a full physical and exam is crucial to ensure you are in good health.
If your cold feet result conditions such as peripheral artery disease or just slow circulation, you must take good care of your feet. Low circulation can also lead to sores and poor healing. Wearing comfortable, protective shoes can be helpful in preventing foot injuries. At Step by Step Professional Family Foot Care, we offer a wonderful line of orthotics and compression socks that can help protect your feet and improve circulation. Stop by and see us today, or book your appointment online.