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Nine Causes of Your Cold Toe Woes

Nov 26, 2018 02:39PM ● By Kendall Finger

The beauty of living in Texas is that we can spend most of our time with our feet and toes exposed without worrying about frostbite. That is, with the exception of the few winter months where our toes can actually get pretty cold at times. If you are the kind of person who has cold toe woes most of the time, you may be interested in knowing the nine most common causes of cold feet, besides second thoughts at the altar!

1. Poor Circulation
As a podiatrist, the most common complaint patients with poor circulation give me is that their feet are always cold. When arterial disease prevents enough of the warm blood from reaching the smaller arteries in your feet, your feet stay cold. Telltale signs of poor circulation in the lower extremity include: cold feet, hair loss on the lower part of the legs and pain in feet and legs while lying down or when the legs are elevated.

2. Diabetes and Nerve Damage
Diabetes is a disease that negatively affects multiple organs in your body including damaging your nerves. That damage causes different sensations to your feet and toes including burning, numbness, tingling and even the sensation of having cold feet all the time, even if they are warm to the touch.  If you have a family history of diabetes and you experience any of these symptoms in your feet, it is worth a visit to discuss this with your podiatrist!

3. Hypothyroidism
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck that actively makes thyroid hormone to help regulate your metabolism.  When your thyroid does not make enough of the hormone, you end up with hypothyroidism. This sluggish thyroid slows down the temperature regulating metabolism in your body, and the extremities are sensitive to this drop in body temperature.

4. Anemia
Poor quality circulating red blood cells, that are low in iron, are to blame for the cold feet you can get from anemia.  Having blood work done helps to easily determine whether you fall under this type of anemia.

5.  Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that attacks multiple organs including the blood vessels. The blood vessels are very small in the feet and the abnormal blood movement that results from these attacks can cause cold feet.

6. Raynaud's Syndrome 
This is a condition where the blood vessels in the feet spasm from being hypersensitive to cold temperatures.  This hypersensitivity causes the small arteries to narrow, limiting the blood supply to the toes. Many times, these toes can turn red, white or blue as a result of these spasming arteries! Raynaud's can be an inherited condition or as a result another underlying disease.

7.  Smoking/Tobacco Use
Smoking and the use of tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, affect the ability of blood to circulate properly throughout the body. In severe cases, a condition known as "Buerger's Disease", causes inflammation and swelling of the arteries and veins.  This can block blood flow to a point where gangrene can develop. The only way to prevent Buerger's disease, is to completely stop the use of any tobacco products.

8.  Hyperhidrosis
Is it possible to have cold feet while your feet are sweating? If this happens to you, then you may have a condition called "hyperhidrosis."  This is a condition that causes sweaty palms and feet from an overactive sympathetic nervous system (the nerves that cause sweating).  Unfortunately, the same nervous system causes the narrowing of arteries.  Less blood flow means colder feet even while they sweat!

9. Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetes tends to be the most common cause of nerve damage that we think of, but any form of peripheral nerve damage can give you the sensations of cold feet even without diabetes.  There are many underlying medical conditions that can cause this type of nerve damage including, but not limited to: metabolic disorders, vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune diseases and previous history of radiation / chemotherapy and organ damage.

If you are experiencing chronically cold feet, do not hesitate to visit us at Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas! 

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Article written by: Dr. Adriana Karpati 

Foot & Ankle of North Texas 

2421 Ira E. Woods Avenue Grapevine, TX 76051

816 Keller Parkway, Keller, Texas, 76248