Some people just have cold feet, in the literal sense. Are you most comfortable wearing UGGs, even in the spring? Does your partner complain about your ice-cold toes brushing up against their shins during the night? If your feet are always cold, there’s an explanation. We talked to Danielle DesPrés, DPM, a board-certified foot and ankle surgeon and podiatrist, to learn more.
Dr. DesPrés told POPSUGAR that it’s not uncommon to have cold feet some of the time, but if it’s constant, there may be an underlying condition that’s causing it. She suggested speaking with your doctor if cold feet is a recurrent problem for you.
What Are Some Common Causes of Cold Feet?
Dr. DesPrés said that poor circulation is one of the most common causes of cold feet. “As the arteries move away from the heart and into the legs and feet, they progressively become smaller and more easily blocked with fatty plaque,” she explained. “Since the arteries going to the feet are the smallest, they are often affected first, thus causing cold feet.” She listed smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and age as risk factors for poor circulation.
Diabetes and hypothyroidism can also cause cold feet. “Often, in diabetes, if the blood sugar remains consistently high, it can damage the nerves, causing neuropathy, or feelings of an icy-hot burning, which can make the feet cold,” Dr. DesPrés said. “With hypothyroidism, the body doesn’t produce enough hormone, affecting the body’s metabolism, which controls body temperature.”
Lastly, iron deficiency can lead to freezing feet. Dr. DesPrés said that low iron leads to anemia (decreased red blood cells), one of the side effects of which is chronically cold feet.
What Can You Do About Chronically Cold Feet?
Warming up your toes is possible, and how to do this depends on why they’re cold in the first place. If you’re suffering from an underlying disease, you need to treat that particular issue. Dr. DesPrés also suggested a few home remedies to try. She recommended wearing thick socks or slippers while indoors and not walking around with bare feet. And since poor circulation can lead to cold feet, daily exercise is a must. “Simply walking will help improve blood flow and circulation,” she said. “If you’re sitting for long periods, even doing ankle circles and wiggling your toes [is a good start].” Lastly, getting a massage is a great way to increase blood flow to your feet and keep them nice and warm.