Cold feet, like what you feel in the winter seasons, is a common problem for a lot of people. A friend told me that it usually feels like her feet are a part of another body and always feels a bit cold, numb, and heavy. So she inspired this article because I did some more research and learned that cold feet are a widespread problem caused by poor blood circulation.
So what is poor circulation?
Poor circulation (or poor blood circulation) is when some parts of your body consistently receive less blood than it requires. Poor circulation on its own is not a condition, but rather is a symptom of several underlying medical conditions which may include Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension, Obesity, and some Issues with the blood vessels themselves.
Persons with poor circulation generally experience this symptom on their legs and hands which would always feel cold, numb, stiff/heavy, and sometimes experience hair loss around the legs. If this is similar to what you have, then you shouldn’t hesitate to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis of the underlying condition and treatment.
Other causes of cold feet
If you’re having cold feet, it could be a sign of an underlying condition that you shouldn’t ignore, or it could be a one-off thing because the weather is cold, your floor heaters aren’t working properly, or you did not cover/protect your feet before going to bed.
Cold or low temperature
The most common cause of cold feet is not due to poor health conditions, it’s the cold weather. Whenever the weather is cold, your body usually tries to generate heat by narrowing the blood vessels in your hands, feet, and skin. This will then result in less blood reaching these areas making them feel cold.
Anemia is a condition where a person lacks the normal amount of red blood cells (RBC) that are required to carry oxygen in their body. This means that not enough nutrients and oxygen will be delivered to all the parts of the body. Anemia may be caused by a deficiency in vitamin B12, deficiency in iron, or folate, or due to severe bleeding, or some other medical conditions. (Source)
Once a person has anemia, it will result in many symptoms including looking pale, tiredness, weakness, hedache and dizyness, cold feet, etc. As anemias are serious conditions, you must always visit your doctor immediately.
If you have ever been diagnosed or are presently living with diabetes, you are prone to having cold feet or cold hands. Studies have shown that diabetes mellitus (or increased levels of blood sugar) in your body can lead to the narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) which leads to poor circulation in your hands and feet.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
This is one of the foremost causes of cold feet; it is a form of nerve damage. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy causes symptoms like tingling, burning, cold feet, sensitivity to the touch, or even loss of sensitivity. This condition affects the feet in such a significant way that many people with Diabetes have to book regular appointments with their foot care specialists. Many other people also require regular massage sessions and special footbaths.
SEE ALSO: Best foot Massagers for neuropathy
Another cause of cold feet is poor circulation due to blood clots in the blood vessels. A blood clot is a piece of solidified blood that, although forms when blood is exposed (like when you have a cut), can form inside the blood vessels and narrows the space required for blood to flow properly to parts of the body like the feet). This is also a serious condition and should be treated quickly.
How to Keep Feet Warm with Poor Circulation
Here are some things that you can do at home (in addition to managing the underlying cause of your poor circulation) to keep your feet warm if you have poor circulation.
One way to quickly relieve or restore cold feet to a warm temperature is by submerging the feet in a warm footbath. To do this, you need to get a basin or use a bathtub filled with warm water. Soak your feet for ten (10) to fifteen (15) minutes or until the water returns to room temperature.
It is important to point out that if you have diabetic neuropathy, you should always use a thermometer to set the temperature of the water as your feet may not be able to accurately detect hot the water actually is. You may also avoid this method altogether to avoid accidental burns.
Warm and well-insulated socks are another cost-effective way to keep your feet warm if you have poor circulation. Not only should you consider socks, but you should go a step further and consider compression socks which help to improve poor circulation on your feet. Some of the best compression socks are very affordable and you should look out for the “graduated” compression socks when shopping on Amazon.
If you’ve never used a heating pad in the past, you have been missing out on one of the best home accessories. They are small or large (blanket-sized) soft clothes that have electric heating strips in them that can heat up to your desired setting. Imaging sleeping under a warm blanket! They are great for cold feet because you can just place a heating pad over your feet. while on the couch or bed.
They also have the added advantage of relieving pain and sore muscles.
You might be tempted to just lie down and rest when your feet are cold and numb, but you one easy and efficient way to build up the heat and get the blood moving to your legs would be to do some light walking or jogging. You don’t need anything too serious. Walking round your house, going up and down the staircase, or just going for a walk with your feet properly covered in warm insulating socks work like charm.
Blood circulation improves with physical activities like walking, jogging, or running, and performing any of these activities is an easy way to make your feet warm again.
Avoid crossing your legs all the time
Although it’s very prim and proper to cross your legs, you should avoid this if you’ve got cold feet due to poor circulation. Crossing your feet can reduce the flow of blood to your legs and feet. If you are unable to sit with both feet on the floor, try getting support (stool) to be placed underneath your feet, rather than crossing the leg.
I am a big fan of feet massage and they have so many benefits for the feet including helping to maintain proper blood circulation in the feet. Frequent foot massage, especially for people with diabetic nerve damage, will keep the flow of blood to the feet consistent, reduce the risk of side effects, and regulate the feet temperature.
Most importantly, you do not need to go to a massage parlor all the time to get a great foot massage as you can do so in the comfort of your home. I already reviewed some of the best foot massagers for neuropathy and proper circulation. Check them out here.
Best Socks for Cold Feet with Poor Circulation
Using socks as a means of insulating your feet has been a useful and proven means for keeping warm feet. This section of the article highlights some of the best types of socks for keeping the feet warm, regardless of environmental temperature.
Socks made of Merino wool
Merino wool is a popular material used in the making of socks for cold feet or cold temperatures. The wool is thinner and softer than regular wool, which makes it a good choice for you that wants to keep warm feet and dislikes the itchiness and thickness of regular wool. Merino wool is an antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, and good material. Meant for keeping the heat in and cold air out.
Socks made of Alpaca
Alpaca is another excellent material to look for when buying socks for cold feet. The material is softer and resists water better than regular wool, making it a good insulating material for socks.
Thermolite is a synthetic material made from polyester fibers, making it thinner than other materials. It is a recommended material used in the production of socks for cold regions. This material dries 50% faster than cotton, making it more ideal for insulation than cotton or regular wool.
Socks made of wool
Wool is a good material for making insulating socks. When made thick, they can keep or retain a warm temperature for the feet. However, it might be itchy or uncomfortable due to the thickness. Regardless, they are good for insulating the feet.
If you experience cold feet or you know someone with regular complaints of cold feet, you’d have to, first of all, find out the cause of the cold feet before using any of the stated means as a resolution. If you have diabetic nerve damage, using hot water might not be the best for your cold feet.
For home remedies, try these steps that I have outlined in several combinations to get the best results. For example, you can have a footbath, massage your feet, wear nice compression socks, and cover your feet with a heating pad. Or you can go for a walk, and cover your feet with a heating pad when you get home.
Generally, you should mix and match these home remedies and see what works best for you.