What Are The Causes of Cold Feet

What Are The Causes of Cold Feet

Our feet are always prone to feeling cold, especially in the cold winter, our body will constrict the blood vessels in the limbs to cope with the drop in temperature. Let as much warm blood as possible circulate in your head and torso. In this article, we analyze the reasons for cold feet from two aspects: climate and body.

Symptoms of Cold Feet

  • Persistent coldness: The feet always feel cold regardless of the ambient temperature.
  • Numbness: In addition to the coldness of the feet, there may be numbness or tingling.
  • Color changes: The skin of the feet may appear pale, bluish, or red, especially in cold environments.
  • Pain: Some people experience pain along with cold feet, especially when the temperature changes.
  • Muscle weakness: Cold feet are accompanied by muscle weakness or fatigue.
cold feet

What Causes Cold Feet

Cold feet may seem like just a minor annoyance, but they can be a sign of underlying health problems. Let's explore a few reasons why this may happen:


Fat deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis) can narrow them, restricting blood flow to the legs. This condition is also called peripheral artery disease (PAD). Atherosclerosis may cause your feet to appear blue or purple when you sit and pale or white when you lie down. You may also experience pain in your calves when you walk.

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure over 140/90 mmHg can cause circulation problems. High blood pressure not only puts more work on the heart but also affects how efficiently blood flows to the extremities, leading to cold feet.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time or lack of exercise can reduce blood circulation in the legs. Lack of activity can cause blood to pool in the lower extremities, which can lead to cold feet.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Heart Disease

Heart disease can slow blood flow throughout the body. When the heart can't pump blood effectively, the blood supply to the feet can also be affected, leading to cold feet.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage (also called neuropathy) can affect the transmission of nerve signals, leading to abnormal sensations in the feet, including cold feet. Neuropathy can be caused by diabetes, trauma, or other nerve diseases.

Thyroid Problems

An underactive thyroid or inflammation (such as Hashimoto's disease) can affect your metabolism, leading to abnormal temperature regulation. An underactive thyroid may make you more sensitive to cold, especially in your hands and feet.

Certain Medications

Some medications may affect blood circulation or nerve function, which can cause cold feet. If you are taking certain medications and experience symptoms of cold feet, it is recommended to consult a doctor.

Family History

If there is a history of thyroid problems or other related diseases in your family, you may also be more likely to experience symptoms of cold feet.


Diabetes can cause high blood sugar levels, which can damage blood vessels and nerves, thereby affecting blood flow to the extremities and causing cold feet.

Learn more: How To Avoid Developing Type 2 Diabetes

First Signs of Diabetes in the Feet

  • Diabetes can cause poor blood circulation in the feet, which can cause changes in skin color. Common changes include pale, bluish, or red and swollen skin on the feet.
  • Patients may also experience unusual changes in foot temperature, often with cold feet.
  • Swelling of the feet or ankles may occur due to the impact on blood and lymph circulation.
  • Tingling or burning sensations may occur in the feet and legs, especially at night or when resting.
  • Pain may occur in the legs when walking, but is relieved by resting. This is due to the lack of blood flow.
  • Minor cuts or scrapes may not heal well and may even worsen into ulcers. Fluid may leak from the ulcer, which is a sign of infection and needs prompt treatment.
  • Toenails are susceptible to fungal infections, ingrown toenails, and thickened, discolored toenails.
  • Chronic friction and pressure can cause corns or calluses on the feet. These problems are more likely to occur because the skin of patients is more sensitive.
  • Diabetes can also affect the hydration of the skin, causing dry and cracked skin on the feet. Especially in the heel area, cracks are prone to occur, increasing the risk of infection.

Stress or Anxiety

Long-term stress and anxiety can cause blood vessels to constrict, affecting blood circulation, which can cause cold feet. Mental health has an important impact on physical health, and relieving stress and anxiety can improve circulation.

Environmental and Lifestyle Influences

Exposing yourself to cold weather for long periods of time can cause your body to divert blood from your extremities to your vital organs, protecting your core temperature but leaving your feet cold.

Wearing shoes and socks that don't provide adequate warmth can expose your feet to the cold, especially in winter.

How to Improve Cold Feet

Cold feet can sometimes be uncomfortable and even alarming. Fortunately, there are things we can do to improve this situation. Here are some simple and effective ways:


When blood circulates well, it is able to transport heat and nutrients to every part of the body, including feet. We can increase heart rate and blood flow through exercise to help blood reach our extremities more efficiently, especially the legs and feet.

Doing some foot stretching exercises at home, such as toe stretches, ankle rotations, and foot flexion and extension exercises, can stimulate local blood flow and reduce stiffness and coldness in the feet.

Raising your legs while resting can help blood circulate more efficiently and reduce gravity's resistance to blood returning to the heart. This prevents blood from stagnating in the legs and reduces cold and swollen feet.

Use Compression Socks

Compression socks can apply gentle pressure to the legs and ankles to promote blood flow. They work by compressing the veins in the legs and preventing blood from stagnating, thereby increasing blood return and reducing swelling and discomfort in the legs and feet. They also help keep your feet warm. This is especially important for people who stand or sit for long periods of time,

Keep Warm

Use warm clothing in cold environments. Keeping your feet warm can help blood circulate better to maintain body temperature and prevent heat loss.

For example, slipper socks are particularly effective and are easy and comfortable to wear, and there are many options such as wool slipper socks that retain warmth and absorb moisture to avoid stress on the feet and blood circulation.

slipper socks

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Soaking your feet can also help improve circulation and warmth, and adding some Epsom salts can be even more soothing. Warm water can dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow, and keep your feet warmer.

Stress Management

Stress can cause blood vessels to constrict, which affects blood circulation. The following methods can help reduce stress, which can improve blood flow and foot temperature.

Activities such as yoga and meditation can help relax the mind and body, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve overall blood circulation. When you relax, blood vessels are more likely to dilate and blood flows more smoothly.

Take Regular Breaks and Stretch

If you have a sedentary job, standing up, stretching, and walking around regularly can help maintain good blood circulation. Getting up and moving for 5 minutes every hour can effectively improve blood flow and prevent cold feet.

Seeking Medical Advice

Continuously cold feet may be a sign of an underlying health problem, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, or peripheral artery disease. It is recommended that you consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

How to Check Blood Flow in Your Legs at Home

Check Skin Temperature

Touch the skin of your calves, ankles, and feet with your hands. Feel if these areas are cooler than the rest of your body. If your feet are significantly cooler than your legs or the rest of your body, this could be a sign of poor blood flow.

Pressure on Feet and Toes

Use your thumb to gently press the skin of your toes or feet for a few seconds. After releasing the pressure, watch for changes in skin color. Normally, the skin should return to normal color within a few seconds. If the skin takes longer to return to normal color, this could indicate poor blood flow.

Check Hair Growth

Observe hair growth in your calves and feet. Note if there is any area of thinning or loss of hair. Thinning or loss of hair could be a sign of poor blood supply.

Perform Simple Leg Exercises

Stand and lift one leg, hold for a few seconds, then lower it. Repeat this movement several times and watch for fatigue, pain, or numbness in your leg. If you feel fatigue or pain in your legs within a short period of time, this could be a circulation problem.

Supine Leg Raise Test

Find a few pillows or cushions and place them on your bed or floor to support your legs.

Lie on your back on a flat surface, making sure your legs are supported by cushions so that they are at a 45-degree angle.

Relax and hold this position for one minute, noting the change in color of the skin on your legs. If your legs become pale within one minute, this may indicate poor circulation. If the skin retains its original color, blood flow is probably good.


The causes of cold feet vary, from environmental and lifestyle factors to underlying health issues. We can effectively alleviate cold feet problems and improve the quality of life by improving blood circulation, keeping feet warm, managing stress, and getting proper medical examinations.

If you often feel cold feet, try our compression socks, which can effectively promote blood circulation and keep feet warm.

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