6 reasons why your feet are always cold in winter and what to do

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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If you tend to get cold feet during the winter season, then read this to find out the culprits behind it and ways to get rid of it.

It is that time of the year when all we want to do is snuggle Into our cozy blanket and keep warm. In winter, our body needs to feel warm to fight the cold. You can pile on sweaters, coats, jackets and boots, but often most of us get stuck with cold feet! And guess what, this condition can’t always be resolved with a pair of socks, no matter how thick and fluffy they are. Can you relate to it? Well, if you are nodding to all of these things, you’re not alone in suffering the agony of cold feet in winter.

But have you ever wondered why your feet are always cold? Well, the simple reason is lack of warmth. Cold feet affect everyone in winter because of extreme cold weather. On a chilly day, the body reacts to the drop in temperature by constricting the blood vessels in your extremities. Though cold feet are not a condition to be worried about, if your feet are persistently cold, it could indicate more serious health conditions.

cold feet in winter
Cold feet are a common winter problem. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

So what causes cold feet?

Dr Pritam Moon, consultant physician, Wockhardt Hospital Mira Road, Mumbai tells HealthShots that cold feet can be caused by many reasons, but among the most common causes include your body’s reaction to temperature, diseases such as diabetes, anaemia, peripheral artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome or even hypothyroidism.

Here are the causes of cold feet:

1. Poor circulation

This is one of the most common causes of cold feet during winter. As the temperature drops, one’s body works to keep the core warm. Thus, the blood vessels constrict to limit circulation to the core part of your body, and the feet can become cold.

2. Anaemia

It happens when one has too few normal red blood cells present in the body. This can be due to iron deficiency, vitamin B12, or even chronic kidney disease. So, many people tend to experience cold feet.

cold feet in winter
Don’t let anaemia mess with your health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Diabetes mellitus

Have diabetes? Then you need to be cautious as you can have circulation problems, especially in feet or hands. Having abnormal blood sugar levels can cause narrowing of the arteries and a reduced blood supply to the tissues, leading to cold feet.

4. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Those having diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a form of nerve damage, can also have cold feet.

5. Hypothyroidism

The underactive thyroid gland, produces a low level of thyroid hormone that negatively impacts the metabolism. Thus, the circulation, heartbeat, and body temperature also get affected leading to cold feet.

6. Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Cold hands and feet — especially in older people — also can be caused by PAD, which occurs when arteries become narrowed or blocked as the plaque gradually forms inside the artery walls.

Also, read: These 5 home remedies for dry and cracked heels will transform your feet

If cold feet are accompanied by additional symptoms like changes in skin color, numbness or tingling sensations, open sores or blisters, and tightened or hardened skin, seek medical attention immediately.

How do you get rid of cold feet in winter?

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to make your feet warmer during the winter. Follow these tips to avoid cold feet suggested by Dr Moon:

1. Keep moving

Do not sit in one place for a long time. Instead, stay physically active. This will help in proper circulation throughout the body.

Also, read: Try this mustard foot bath at home to make your feet sandal ready

2. Wear socks

You can do so after consulting the doctor. Socks can keep the feet warm.

cold feet in winter
Wear socks to keep your feet warm. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Footbath

Soak the feet in warm water. Doing so can improve circulation throughout the body.

4. Hot compress

One can also use a heating pad or hot water bottle. Try to place it on the feet just before hitting the sack, and relax! Doing so can help relieve muscle soreness too.

See a doctor if the condition is persistent and you have other symptoms like fever, chest pain, fainting, blisters etc.

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