Many people complain that their feet are cold all the time. Although this is a rather unpleasant problem, it is a condition that can be described as normal, usually associated with cold weather.
It is often attributed to poor circulation. This is not entirely false.
When exposed to cold, the blood vessels in the feet and other extremities contract to retain heat or return blood to vital organs. It’s a survival mechanism!. On rare occasions, however, the same reaction can be triggered by a serious health problem.
Here we will discuss some of these conditions as well as natural solutions to the cold feet problems.
Why do we have cold feet?
When it is cold, it is physiologically vital for the body to maintain its internal heat. To do this, the blood vessels in the extremities (feet, hands, nose, ears, etc.) contract to limit the blood supply to these regions. Think about what happens when you are hot: our ears and nose turn red because the body is trying to lower its temperature. The opposite is also true when it comes to preserving internal heat.
Certain health problems causing damage to the extremities (such as peripheral neuropathy in diabetics) can cause the same feeling of cold and tingling in the feet.
Vitamin deficiency, like that seen in people with chronic alcoholism, sometimes has a similar effect.
Poor circulation due to peripheral arterial disease can also limit blood supply to the feet. All of these problems are relatively rare, but if you have concerns, it’s important to see a qualified health professional to find out.
What are the causes?
As we just mentioned, a problem with cold feet can be the result of peripheral arterial or vascular disease.
If fatty deposits accumulate in the arteries, the free space inside becomes smaller and the blood circulates less well.
In diabetic neuropathy, excess blood sugar damages the nerve cells that control not only how cold and hot you feel, but also your blood flow.
Signs and symptoms of cold feet due to poor circulation:
- Pale or bluish color of the skin (cyanosis)
- Numbness in the legs (paraesthesia)
- Pain in legs, calves and feet when walking
- Pain that increases with muscular effort and decreases at rest
Signs and symptoms of cold feet associated with the nervous system:
- Sensitivity to touch
- Weakness or loss of strength
- Muscular weakness
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Paralysis of part of the body
What we can do?
Once the cause of the problem has been diagnosed, the following steps may be helpful:
Wear rechargeable heated socks. They are powered by batteries and can heat your feet for hours.
Hydrotherapy. Alternating hot and cold foot baths. Prepare two basins, one filled with the warmest water you can tolerate without getting burned, and the other filled with very cold water ( as cold as possible). You can add a few drops of essential oil. Immerse your feet in the basin of hot water for up to three minutes, then dip them slowly in the basin of cold water for one minute. Repeat three to five times, always ending with cold water. Your feet will be invigorated and you should notice a feeling of warmth.
Acupuncture. By an acupuncturist with a license to practice or by a certified naturopathic doctor. Acupuncture is a therapy thousands of years old, increasingly supported by scientific data for its effectiveness in relieving pain, muscle and joint relaxation as well as stimulation of blood circulation.
Exercise. Needless to say, a 30-40 minute period of light to moderate intensity exercise can only promote better blood circulation.
Vitamins. A deficiency in B12 and other B-complex vitamins is associated with feelings of numbness, tingling, and even coldness in the limbs. Consult a licensed naturopathic doctor who can recommend supplements.
Phytotherapy. Some plants have stimulating properties for blood flow (including ginkgo), while others provide a heating effect (such as ginger). Ask a qualified herbalist or a certified naturopathic doctor for more information.
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