If you are running through your entire stock of cozy winter socks every week, you might be wondering if there is something more you can do to keep your feet warm.

While chronically cold feet can indicate your footwear simply isn’t up to par, it can also reflect an underlying problem you may want to address, especially if you’ve entered your mature years.

Common Causes of Cold Feet

When it comes to feet that frequently feel frosty no matter what you do, there are a handful of potential causes that involve everything from circulation to nerves, genetics, and even stress.

Underactive Thyroid

Your thyroid plays an important role in regulating your metabolism, and when you don’t have enough essential thyroid hormones being produced, your metabolism can slow down leading to many issues, including cold hands and feet.

Smoking

Chances are you have heard the words “quit smoking” more than any other piece of health advice in your lifetime, and for good reason.

Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs. It actually constricts blood vessels all over your body inhibiting good circulation and contributing to things vastly worse than just cold feet, like heart disease and cancer.

Peripheral Artery Disease

When fatty deposits cause arteries to narrow, they can obstruct proper blood flow to the limbs. Without normal circulation of warm blood down the legs and to the feet, you could experience chronically cold feet.

If you have existing risk factors like diabetes, atherosclerosis, or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about this possibility.

Stress

Did you know that an important part of your body’s innate fight or flight response is to divert blood flow away from your limbs and to your core? If you are under a lot of stress or experiencing frequent anxiety, your fingers and toes may feel frostier than normal.

Sitting

An increasingly sedentary lifestyle could be affecting your body’s ability to properly circulate blood. Not only has excessive sitting been linked to early death but lack of movement when sitting for prolonged periods (i.e., watching a movie, working, etc.) can also make it hard for your blood vessels to properly supply your feet and nerves with the warmth and nourishment they need to adequately function.

Anemia

A shortage of red blood cells often associated with iron deficiency can compromise your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to cells. A cascade of problems can result, including reduced heat production, thus making your feet feel colder than normal.

Raynaud’s Syndrome

A rare condition known as Raynaud’s syndrome causes the body’s small blood vessels in extremities like the feet, fingers, nose, and ears to almost completely constrict when exposed to cold air.

This temporary halt in blood flow causes the extremities to become white and then return to normal, often painfully, once they are warm again.

Nerve Damage

Sometimes nerve damage from an injury or a condition like diabetes can cause you to feel sensations in your feet that aren’t actually real. For example, your feet might not feel cold to the touch, but if you have nerve damage, they could feel cold, numb, or prickly to you.

What to Do

Unfortunately, research shows that older women are much more likely to experience cold in their extremities than men. However, before you self-diagnose some rare and unforeseen medical condition to explain your cold feet, take these easy steps to warm them up:

Choose Good Socks

Ultra-thick socks can actually cut off your circulation in tighter shoes while cotton can quickly absorb moisture and stop retaining heat.

If you have cold feet, opt for comfortable wool socks that fit well with your shoes, especially if you use orthotic inserts, and that wick away moisture in the event your feet get wet outside in the winter weather.

Get Moving

Physical activity facilitates the best blood flow all over your body, especially in your feet. Keep up with your exercise routine during the winter and make sure to take frequent breaks when sitting for long periods to stretch your legs and move your feet.

De-Stress

Discover easy, effective ways to de-stress this winter and give your feet a boost of warmth. Try taking a warm bath, getting a foot massage with warm oils, or resting your feet by the fire with a cup of tea and a good book.

In the event you do suspect an underlying problem is contributing to your icy appendages, talk to your doctor. Symptoms like joint pain in your feet, unexpected weight changes, ongoing fatigue, fever, skin changes, and sores on your feet that won’t heal could indicate the need for stronger treatment.

Do your feet often feel cold, especially at night when you go to bed? What are some tricks you have for keeping your feet warm? Please share your experience and tips in the comments below.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor to get specific medical advice for your situation.

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