Cold feet can be caused by poor circulation, excessive perspiration or neurological conditions that limit blood flow to the feet. In some cases, cold feet may be due to one or more of these problems. Management of cold feet is often a matter of being pro-active, avoiding a cold or wet environment. Specific medical conditions that contribute to cold feet are discussed in this article.
Warm feet are the product of good circulation and adequate neurological innervation of the feet. Warmth is brought to the foot by way of arterial blood flow. Warm blood nourishes the tissue of the leg and foot providing oxygen and stabilizing the body temperature. The most obvious reason for cold feet is a decrease in normal circulation. Many folks with compromised circulation describe feeling cold feet not only in the winter months but throughout the entire year.
Causes and contributing factors
One consideration in keeping the feet warm is heat loss. There's a number of ways that the body looses heat. Heat can be lost by conduction. Water is a great conductor of heat. Heat is also lost by windy conditions (convection) and contacting a cooler surface (radiation) such as standing on cold concrete or snow.
Alcohol, hunger, anemia and cardiovascular disease all make you more susceptible to heat loss and cold weather injury. Smoking and use of smokeless tobacco can contribute to cold feet. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor that limits blood flow to small vessels.
Anxiety can also contribute to cold feet and hands. Anxiety increases perspiration of the hands and feet resulting in conductive heat loss. Anxiety also results in vasoconstriction that limits blood flow to the extremities.
Here’s a few tips to protect yourself from the cold this year -
When to contact your doctor
Cold hands and feet can be a symptoms of other medical conditions. Most cases of cold hands and feet can be managed by being proactive and avoiding situations where you are exposed to cold or wet environments. If your symptoms include pain or changes in the skin as a result of cold exposure, consult your podiatrist or family doctor for treatment.
References are pending.
Author(s) and date
Competing Interests - None
Peer Reviewed - This article is peer reviewed by an open source editorial board. Your comments and suggestions to improve this paper are appreciated.
Cite this article as: Oster, Jeffrey. Cold Feet. http://myfootshop.com/article/cold-feet
Most recent article update: December 23, 2015.
Cold Feet by Myfootshop.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.