Cold feet are a fairly common complaint amongst patients. It can vary from being a mild annoyance to being the symptom of an underlying disease.
Warm feet are generally a sign that the circulation is good. Warmth is brought to the foot by the arterial blood flow. Poor circulation is an obvious reason for cold feet as there is a decrease in normal circulation. Some people just have colder feet than others and it is not related to any serious pathology. A number of medical conditions can cause cold feet, such as multiple sclerosis, heart disease, peripheral neuropathy and Raynauds disease.
What can you do about cold feet?
The best way to deal with cold feet is to prevent heat loss by keeping the feet warm and dry and wearing natural fiber socks (eg wool). Footwear made of leather has insulating properties that can help keep the feet warmer. If the circulation is impaired, it is important to follow guidelines on diabetes foot care even if you are not diabetics, in order to prevent permanent damage.
Cold feet do not normally need treatment, but complications of cold feet, such as chilblains (pernio, perniosis), can be helped. There are some creams that can help a foot “feel warmer”, but they are not advisable in those with poor circulation, so professional advice should be sought.