Cold feet may be sending an alert and you should know

Women usually have cold feet more often than men. Although most of the time it does not matter, especially if it happens in winter, if it lasts over time it can be a symptom of a health problem.

The continuous cold can hide the so-called "Reynaud Phenomenon", in which the arteries of the toes react in an exaggerated way to the different temperatures. Other pathologies may also be behind this sensation, such as fibromyalgia, anemia, blood circulation problems or hypothyroidism.

Know what are the diseases that can hide behind cold feet, and what are the precautions and cares that you should take into account.

(You may also be interested: Do these exercises at home and relieve foot pain in 5 minutes)

Bad circulation

The feet are the extremities farthest from the heart, so the blood has more difficulty reaching them. This influences that they have a lower temperature than the rest of the body.

The blood reaches them later and that lowers the temperature

If there is also a problem that prevents proper blood circulation, the feeling of cold feet can be accentuated and also cause other symptoms.

What if it's anemia?

You may not know that something as frequent (especially among women) as an iron deficiency can affect the regulation of body temperature.

Peripheral arteriopathy

The buildup of plaque causes a narrowing and hardening of the arteries, which in turn causes a decrease in blood flow in the legs and feet.

People who have high cholesterol levels, hypertension, some heart disease, diabetes or are smokers have a higher risk of peripheral arterial disease (or peripheral arterial disease).

Smoking is one of the main risk factors

The most common symptoms of this disorder are:

– Feet and legs cold to the touch

– Pale skin on these extremities

– Pain, fatigue, burning or muscular discomfort in feet, calves or thighs

At first, they appear when walking (especially, uphill or fast) or when exercising. But if the disease gets worse, these symptoms can also appear while at rest, along with numbness, cramping, tingling or pain in the feet and fingers.

Raynaud's disease

Also called Raynaud's Phenomenon, it is a disorder of the blood vessels that affects the fingers and toes. People who have this disease suffer an excessive reaction to cold and emotional stress: the vessels narrow momentarily and not enough blood reaches these parts of the body.

People with this syndrome react in an exaggerated way to cold and stress

When this happens, the skin of these areas turns white or bluish, and the fingers feel cold and numb. This reaction can last from 10-15 minutes to more than an hour. But when the blood flow is restored, the skin becomes red and you may feel palpitations, tingling or pain.

Although the cause of this disorder is not known, in some cases it is associated with diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or scleroderma.

(You may also be interested: Your personality uncovered by the shape of your feet, what is yours?)


If you feel your feet cold, but when you touch them, they are hot, it could be a sign of peripheral neuropathy. This disorder of neurological origin is quite common among people with diabetes.

Having high blood sugar levels over a long period can damage peripheral nerves, which send information from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.

Diabetes or a deficit of B vitamins can cause peripheral neuropathy

In some cases, the neuropathy is hereditary, and in others it can be due to a deficit of vitamins of group B (B6, B9 or folic acid and B12), autoimmune disorders, heavy metal poisoning such as lead, lesions that cause pressure in a nerve or excessive consumption of alcohol.

Other very common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are:

Tingling, lack of sensitivity and throbbing pain in the feet (although it can also affect the hands and other parts of the body). Or instead of cold, you can also notice the opposite: burning sensation in the feet.


Intolerance or great sensitivity to cold is one of the usual symptoms of hypothyroidism. This disorder occurs when the thyroid gland has a reduced activity and, therefore, does not produce the necessary amount of thyroid hormones, which are essential for most of the metabolic functions of the body.

In addition to the cold sensation, hypothyroidism can also cause:

  • Fatigue, fatigue, drowsiness and apathy
  • Difficulty concentrating, memory loss or depression
  • Weight gain
  • Paleness, dry skin and fragility of nails and hair
  • Constipation
  • Diminution of heart rhythm
  • Joint pain


As for diet, it is good to include foods rich in magnesium, calcium, vitamins E, K and C and spicy products such as cayenne, curry, cinnamon, pepper can increase the heart rate so that more blood flows to the feet. Dairy products should be avoided, since they increase the cold sensation, and caffeine because it compresses the blood vessels.

Similarly, it is recommended to drink water regularly because dehydration can cool the feet. You can practice hydrotherapy and soak your feet with warm water or make contrast baths with cold water and then hot because they activate the circulation of the foot. You can also rub them with any moisturizer to warm them up and help improve circulation.

Precautions to prevent the sensation of coldness in the feet

– Avoid wearing too tight clothes, as it hinders blood circulation

– Use natural fiber socks, such as wool or cotton, and do not squeeze. The footwear must also be breathable, to prevent the accumulation of sweat to cool the feet.

– Do not wear high heels daily. The ideal is that they have 3-4 cm of heel.

– Try not to cross your legs while sitting.

– Exercise moderately regularly, since it promotes blood flow in the extremities and oxygenation.

– If you smoke, ask your doctor for advice to quit this habit. Smoking increases circulatory problems and the cooling of the extremities.

– To warm your feet, do not put them near the stove or the radiator, as this favors the appearance of chilblains. Better massage them to reactivate circulation.

– Consuming alcohol to warm up is not a good idea. Although it can produce this effect in the rest of the body momentarily, alcohol causes vasoconstriction (contraction of blood vessels) and impairs circulation in the extremities, increasing the feeling of cold in them.

Important: It should be clarified that Bioguía does not give medical advice or prescribe the use of techniques as a form of treatment for physical or mental problems without the advice of a doctor, either directly or indirectly. In the case of applying for this purpose some information of this site, Bioguía does not assume the responsibility of those acts. The intention of the site is only to offer information of a general nature to help in the search of development and personal growth.