While “cold feet” can refer to certain hesitations and fears before marriage, that won’t be the topic of this particular article. Instead, we’ll be talking about the more literal meaning of “cold feet.” Sometimes, your feet might get cold and you need to find out how to keep feet warm with poor circulation!
To explain this properly, you need to understand what this condition is and all that it entails. Sometimes, you get your feet cold due to cold temperatures or a cold environment.
In this case, an extra layer of warmth, like electric blankets or a quality pair of socks will do the job of keeping your feet toasty and warm.
However, having cold feet could be a result of an underlying condition. Needless to say, it’s only when you have properly identified what the problem is that you can start to find the best solution.
Here, we’ll analyze cold feet, what causes it, symptoms to watch out for, and the best steps you can take to remedy the problem!
What Does It Mean to Have Cold Feet?
The first thing you need to note is that cold feet (and hands) are one of the body’s many natural responses to cold temperatures and anxiety.
When the body is subjected to cold temperatures, the blood vessels respond to this condition. The blood vessels constrict and initiate a reduction of blood flow in order to reduce heat loss.
As such, it isn’t uncommon for many people to feel this phenomenon at certain periods of time, like in the winter or on an especially chilly night.
However, the problem presents itself if the cold feet you’re experiencing are related to a more severe medical condition. An underlying medical condition will cause poor blood circulation and make it difficult for you to keep your feet warm.
Poor Circulation Symptoms and Other Major Signs of Cold Feet
Here are a few signs and symptoms to look out for if you’ve been noticing that your feet are feeling colder than they should be.
But, keep in mind that the presence of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily indicate that you have any underlying health conditions. Instead, it may be a signal that it’s time to see a health care provider or the foot doctor for a more thorough foot exam.
General Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For
- Higher than usual sensitivity to cold climates and environments
- Sensations of pain and weakness in your hands and feet
- Observable changes in the color of your skin when you’re stressed or feeling cold
- Loss of feeling or numbness when you relieve stress or get warm
With a broad understanding of what cold feet is, we’ll now be delving deeper into major health conditions that can result in this phenomenon.
Major Causes of Cold Feet and Poor Circulation
In the absence of cold climates, several health conditions and even lifestyles can put you at risk of circulation problems and cold feet.
Listed below is a concise list of things that can affect blood circulation and your overall circulatory health.
Peripheral Artery Disease
At the top of the list of causes of poor circulation is Peripheral Artery Disease. This disease causes a reduction of blood flow to the peripheral aspects of your body.
This condition is closely associated with diabetes. That said, there are instances where it’ll present itself in the absence of diabetes mellitus.
To figure out how to keep feet warm with poor circulation in this case, you must first know what predisposes you to this condition.
The most common cause is when the blood vessels (arteries) that transport blood from the heart is blocked. This condition is referred to as atherosclerosis.
Factors That Predispose You to PAD
- High cholesterol levels in the blood
- High blood pressure
- Frequent smoking
- Discomfort in major muscle groups (calf, bottom, hips)
- Observable color changes on your feet
- Weakness in the legs
- Extremely cold feet
- Foot injury or wounds that don’t form an adequate blood clot or heal well
Another health condition that causes poor blood flow within your blood vessels is Raynaud’s Phenomenon.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon causes your body to become overly sensitive to cold conditions. Poor mental health, such as stress and anxiety, can also trigger these attacks.
It can cause your fingers and toes to become stiff and frozen with cold. In some cases, it also impairs the blood vessels from sending blood to the nipples, nose, ears, and lips.
Causes of Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Certain medications, such as migraine drugs or beta-blockers for high blood pressure
Symptoms of Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Cold feet and other peripheral extremities
- Color change in skin
- Numb and prickly sensation upon the alleviation of stress or after your feet get warm
Underactive Thyroid Gland
Hypothyroidism can also be responsible for feeling extremely cold feet at night.
The thyroid gland is an important part of the body. It’s responsible for the synthesis of hormones that influence the optimal performance of many other organs.
Experiencing cold feet at night might be as a result of an underactive thyroid. In the absence of sufficient thyroid hormone, optimal body functioning becomes impaired.
Causes of Underactive Thyroid
- Presence of an autoimmune disease
- Thyroid surgery
- Various types of medication
- Radiation therapy
- Other conditions, such as pregnancy, congenital disease, or pituitary disorder
Signs of Hypothyroidism
- Joint pain
- Leg pain and swelling
- Increased blood cholesterol and sensitivity to cold
- Poor mental health and development
Diabetic nerve damage or nerve disorders from an injury can also cause this phenomenon.
In the case of diabetic nerve damage, you might start to feel sensations that aren’t real. For example, if the nerve damage is intensive, you might feel cold feet even though your feet aren’t actually cold to the touch.
Another cause of cold feet is a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for long periods of time everyday can negatively affect how your blood vessels carry out blood circulation.
Irregular blood sugar levels resulting from diseases like diabetes can also lead to reduced heat production and cold feet.
How to Keep Feet Warm With Poor Circulation
If you notice that your symptoms match most or all of the severe symptoms listed above, we recommend that you consult a professional health care team or a foot doctor.
However, before you enter full panic mode, there are a few things you can try first in order to improve your circulatory health!
High-quality footwear and socks, such as ski socks or merino wool socks, might be very helpful here.
With these resources at your disposal, you will give your body an extra layer of warmth, which will make it easier for your body to generate even more heat.
A good pair of socks will help keep your feet dry. You’ll also get a little buffer against that cold, familiar winter feeling.
As an extra measure here, you can even get an electric blanket and foot warmers.
Develop a Healthy Lifestyle
Shaking off a sedentary life and a poor diet can help you fight off the cold as well. A balanced diet will give your body the resources it needs in order to ensure proper body functioning.
On the outside, you can keep your body heat up and increase blood flow by maintaining a strict body regime during the colder seasons.
In addition to this, don’t forget to take frequent breaks from sitting down, especially if it’s for extended periods of time.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Unwinding is also another important aspect to keeping warm.
Doing simple things like taking a warm bath or getting a foot massage can improve your body heat and go a long way.
Taking care of your health will also put you in a relaxed mood and will alleviate the stress and anxiety that could potentially trigger cold feet.
If you’ve tried all these measures and there hasn’t been any changes in your condition, then it’s best to consult a healthcare team or health care provider as soon as possible.
Having cold feet from time to time is probably harmless. In a lot of cases, getting an extra layer of warmth can help you feel more comfortable!
However, if you’re experiencing any underlying conditions, learning how to keep feet warm with poor circulation isn’t enough. If this is the case, it’s best to consult a medical practitioner for a more lasting solution to the problem.