Cold feet and cold hands often plague us during the cold season. Especially women crawl in winter often with ice feet to bed. But cold feet are not only unpleasant. Sometimes diseases are behind the symptoms. If the feet are getting cold even in the summer, you should have the reasons clarified by a doctor. Otherwise, there are various tips and tricks to rekindle the cold feet and contribute to a better well-being. Read here what helps against ice feet.
Where do ice feet come from?
Cold feet can have many causes. Some are harmless, others require medical treatment.
One of the most common causes is cold from the outside. Therefore, feet cool down quickly as the cold season comes. When temperatures drop, our body tries to supply all the important organs and protect them from the cold. So that the brain, heart and all other organs have it warm, the heat is removed from the feet and hands and redistributed.
The organism can regulate the heat independently, by narrowing the vessels and thus throttling the transport of warm blood in the direction of the hands and feet. The narrowed blood vessels are less well supplied with blood, the fingers and toes cool. That is why it is helpful in autumn and winter against cold, thick socks and gloves to wear. In extreme situations with very low temperatures, unprotected limbs may even die as a result of blood withdrawal.
Other causes of cold feet
In addition to cold, wetness can lead to ice clumps on feet and hands. Wet skin causes so-called evaporative coldness when the cold moisture on the skin dissipates the heat to the outside. Again, the body reacts with the narrowing of blood vessels. People who are increasingly struggling with sweaty feet, therefore, usually suffer more often under cold toes.
In addition, the clothing plays a role: tight shoes or socks with tight cuffs press on the blood vessels and are thus an obstacle to adequate blood flow. Frosty temperatures with wetness and inappropriate clothing are therefore typical causes of cold feet and hands.
Why do women especially suffer from cold feet?
Ice feet are especially common in women - about eight out of ten women are affected. Men are less likely to suffer from discomfort because they have more muscle - and muscles produce body heat because using muscles consumes energy. However, only about 20 to 30 percent of the energy is used for muscular work. The rest is available as body heat.
While the male body consists of about 40 percent of muscle, the value in women is about 23 percent. Accordingly, the female organism produces less body heat and it comes increasingly to cold hands and feet.
In addition, women often have lower body mass than men. Therefore, they have a different body mass to surface ratio. This inferior ratio also causes women to lose more heat.
To compensate for the disadvantage of greater heat loss in the same time, the female body concentrates on the central organs in the heat distribution. And because they are in the middle of the body, hands and feet cool faster.
9 tips against cold feet
But what helps against cold feet? Try the following tips:
- Warm socks: Warm socks are a good insulation against cold and can prevent the feet from cooling. The socks should be thick and loose fit. Tight frets constrict the blood vessels and thus worsen the problem.
- Avoid sweaty feet: wetness cools your feet even more. Therefore, the socks should be changed as soon as they have become moist due to sweat.
- No tight shoes: A tight footwear presses on the vessels and worsens the blood circulation. The result is cold feet.
- Footbaths: Increasing footbaths followed by dry scrubbing stimulate blood circulation and dilate narrowed vessels. The foot bath should be gradually heated from about 33 to 40 degrees Celsius by pouring hot water.
- Hot water bottle: Hot water bottles quickly warm up cooled feet and avoid ice feet in the bed.
- Foot massages: Gentle massages promote blood circulation. For this purpose, for example, a hedgehog ball can be used.
- Toe gymnastics: In the office already help small exercises such as the wobbling with the toes and the circles of the feet.
- Foot cream: creams with circulation-enhancing active ingredients can help to warm up the feet.
- Hot Spices: Chilli, pepper and ginger drive beads of sweat into our faces and can heat up the body properly. But also soups, stews or hot drinks stimulate the circulation.
Prevent cold feet
Ice feet can be specifically prevented, especially by stimulating the blood circulation. Vessels can be trained through an interplay of warmth and cold. In summer, water treading is popular. The icy water makes for a tingling skin and stimulates the blood circulation. In winter, a short stay in the snow has the same effect. The feet should then be immediately dried and warmed. But also alternative baths or visits to the sauna promote blood circulation.
Foot exercises also have a preventative effect. A particularly efficient exercise is picking up objects with your toes. For example, a pen is dropped. In order to demand even more, the pen should be held with the toes as long as possible.
These tips also help prevent cold feet:
- Reduce animal products: The cholesterol in animal products promotes the formation of vascular calcifications, which affect the blood circulation. That's why more and more fruit and vegetables should be used.
- Green vegetables: In particular, vitamin B protects the nerves, which are important for the regulation of heat and cold in our body. That's why every menu needs enough green vegetables.
- Drink enough water: If you drink a lot, the blood can circulate better. A lack of fluid thickens the consistency of the blood.
- No alcohol: alcohol deprives the body of water and thus increases the symptoms.
- Sports: Regular exercise promotes blood circulation.
- Quit smoking: Nicotine narrows the vessels and is a risk factor for many diseases.
Cold feet as a warning signal
Cold feet often occur when the blood circulation in the body is restricted. First, a tingling in the affected areas of the body is noticeable. The tissue can also discolor.
The cause of the impaired blood circulation may be in blood vessels throughout the body. On the one hand the condition of the blood vessels plays a role, on the other hand the flow conditions. Cold feet can therefore also be understood as a warning sign for diseases. If someone always suffers from cold feet, it may be advisable to have the cause clarified by a doctor.
Role of the blood vessels
Cold feet may be an indication of blood vessel impairment. For example, the following causes are possible:
- Low blood pressure: If the blood pressure is too low, the blood supply to your hands and feet may diminish.
- Vascular calcifications: Vascular calcifications are also called arteriosclerosis. Deposits in the vessels reduce blood flow. The deposits are caused by fats. In particular, cholesterol is considered responsible for the constrictions.
Other risk factors for arterial calcification include tobacco use, diabetes and stress. A healthy diet with few animal products can reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis.
Nerve disorders as the cause of cold feet
Nerves play an important role in our body. They perceive external signals, such as touch, and pass them on to the brain. And they receive signals from the brain. Through the autonomic nervous system, the organism uses hormones to regulate blood flow.
Nerve disorders can therefore affect the regulation of cold and heat. For example, diabetes can damage the nerves in the long term (diabetic neuropathy). In addition, hormonal disorders affect the regulation of heat. These include, inter alia, a hypothyroidism.
Our psyche also affects the body. Through the autonomic nervous system and the various hormones, mental discomfort can affect the blood circulation. Stress, depression and anxiety attacks are also potential causes of cold feet.
If your hands and feet are constantly freezing, Raynaud's Syndrome may be behind your discomfort. It is a vascular disorder that causes cramping, pain and discoloration of the hands and feet. In addition to various medications, multiple sclerosis or carpal tunnel syndrome can trigger the disease. This form of circulatory disorder should necessarily be examined by a doctor.