Cold Feet – What could be the cause?

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What could be causing your feet to get cold?

Why are My Feet Always Cold?

We all know the idiom of getting cold feet, but some of us struggle with cold feet permanently. Cold feet might sound like a minor annoyance to most, but they can negatively impact your life if you experience cold feet regularly.

Why Do I Have Cold Feet?

People’s bodies are unique, all different shapes and sizes, and so are their responses to temperature. Cold feet maybe your body’s normal reaction to temperature. However, cold feet may sometimes be related to a medical condition that might require treatment. For example, there are diseases like diabetes and anemia that can affect the temperature of your feet.

The Symptoms of Cold Feet

Symptoms that may signal a medical condition and come with cold feet include:

Painful and weak hands and feet
Hands and feet being sensitive to cold.
Your skin changes color when you are cold or stressed.
Feeling numb as you get warm or relieve stress.

Possible Causes of Cold Feet

Complications caused by diabetes

People who have diabetes could be more at risk of problems that can negatively affect their feet. These problems could include:

Peripheral neuropathy

This condition could damage the nerves in the feet. A symptom of this condition is that they feel icy cold, but when you touch them, they feel completely normal. Diabetes could be a giant contributor to getting this condition. Other causes could be an injury, a bad diet lacking in vitamins, autoimmune and bone marrow disorders, thyroid problems, alcoholism, and side effects of medication.

Peripheral artery disease

People who suffer from this condition might have a slow or blocked flow to their legs and feet, resulting in poor circulation. Poor circulation in your feet can make them cold. People who don’t have diabetes can also get peripheral artery disease. A few things raise your chances of getting Peripheral artery disease. They include smoking, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, as well as a mature age.


If you are struggling with cold feet, your thyroid might be underactive. The reason for this is that your thyroid makes hormones in your body. If your thyroid isn’t working correctly, enough hormones won’t be released. As a result, it could make you feel cold all over, including your feet.

Of course, our own diabetic socks can also help to keep your feet stay warm and may be appropriate for your needs too.

Raynaud’s disease

This uncommon disease causes your body to overreact to chilly temperatures. If you suffer from this disease, your fingers and toes may feel numb when the temperature drops. Your fingers and toes might even become slightly blue when they are exposed to cold, and when they heat up again, they turn red and sting. A few factors can bring on these attacks, including cold weather, an air conditioner that has been set too low, and stress.

Raynaud’s disease causes problems in the arteries, causing them to narrow in your feet and hands. Blood can’t move well to fingers and toes because of this narrowing, resulting in cold fingers and toes. The disease is more common amongst women. There are two types of Raynaud’s disease:

Primary Raynaud’s. Out of the two types, this one is the most common, and the symptoms are milder.
Secondary Raynaud’s. This condition is also called Raynaud’s phenomenon or syndrome. It has some severe symptoms and affects mainly older people.

If you have Raynaud’s and notice sores on your fingers or toes, you should see your doctor. Permanent damage can be prevented with quick treatment.


If your feet are constantly feeling cold, you might be anemic. Anemia occurs when your body doesn’t have sufficient red blood cells, or they aren’t healthy enough to take oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. If you are showing signs of anemia, you should see your doctor. It is treatable, but treatment depends on what kind of anemia you have.

Buerger’s disease

This is a very rare disease that might affect smokers or people who chew tobacco. The disease might cause the blood vessels in the hands and feet to swell, slowing blood flow. It could also lead to clots forming or infection.

This disease is most common amongst men under the age of 45. If you are experiencing any disease symptoms, you should see your doctor and quit smoking and chewing tobacco.

High cholesterol

Circulation problems might be expected in people who struggle with high cholesterol. These circulation problems could lead to cold feet. Arterial disease causes problems with circulation, and it is caused by cholesterol build-up and inflammation.


Stress can have a severe impact on our bodies, and not in a good way. When we are stressed, our bodies can send blood away from our feet and hands towards our core. This can result in our feet feeling cold.

Diagnosing the Cause of Cold Feet

It is essential to see a doctor if you experience cold feet regularly because there is such a wide range of possible causes. A doctor might help you diagnose any potential medical conditions that you aren’t even aware of. A doctor can then offer treatment options.

Living with Cold Feet

For some of us, unfortunately, cold feet might become part of our daily lives. However, they don’t always need to give you the chills. There are ways to make your feet feel toasty and comfortable that won’t break the bank. These methods include:

Wearing comfortable and warm socks or slippers.
Improving the circulation in your feet with regular stretching and massage.
Considering putting an end to cigarettes and tobacco.
Improving your diet to lower your cholesterol.
Taking up meditation to reduce your stress levels.
Introducing more iron, vitamin B12, and folate into your diet to improve your body’s overall circulation.


Taking care of our bodies is something we should do every day. By having a healthy lifestyle, you give your body the best chance at a long and happy life from head to toe. Even if you end up with a pair of icy feet, you can still get a foothold on the situation with a bit of tender loving care.

About Me

Founder of Well Heeled - I have a great interest in diabetes and the effect on those diagnosed as well as those around them. With over 20 years in health and social care, as a qualified social worker and as a passionate educator within the health and social care sector, I wanted to bring further information to others around diabetes and other issues.

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