The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

What Cold Feet Could Say About Your Health

Posted by on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014


People often joke about “getting cold feet” before a wedding. But for some people, cold feet are no joke at all. As we alluded to in yesterday’s post, cold hands and feet can be a sign of a more serious medical issue. Problems with the circulatory system, blood vessel function, and the immune system often manifest in the feet. So if you have been thinking about seeing a podiatrist to inquire as to why your feet are always cold–even in socks, even in the summertime–it is wise to get checked out and know for sure!

For some people, cold feet can be a sign of serious health problems. Flickr CC User, chaoticandserene

Serious Health Concerns Associated with Cold Feet

According to Health Statusa list of diseases that cause cold feet include:

– Diabetes: Nerve damage associated with (often undiagnosed) diabetes causes a loss of sensation and warmth in the feet.

– Lupus: Overactive nerve signals cause blood vessels to go into spasm, restricting blood flow to the feet.

– Scleroderma: Problems with blood vessel function causes poor circulation in the feet

Raynaud’s DiseaseAttacks triggered by stress or temperatures below 60 degrees occur when arteries in the toes spasm.

– Buerger’s Disease: Blood clots and inflammation obstruct blood flow to the feet.

– Thyroid Disease: Thyroid hormones influence how much the blood vessels dilate and how much warmth the body retains.

Furthermore, you could have anemia (low blood iron levels); other symptoms may include extremely pale skin, fatigue, and weakness. Artery damage (atherosclerosis) caused by the build up of plaque in the blood vessels can also cause cold feet.

Less Serious Causes of Cold Feet

Other possible culprits for cold feet include:

– Frostnip: If you were out in the cold a wee bit too long, you may just have a bit of frostnip — which is sometimes considered the mildest form of frostbite. With frostnip, the tissues are not actually injured, and your feet should warm and return to the proper color within 15 minutes of leaving the cold or being put in 99-100 degree water.

– Smoking: Blood vessels constrict with tobacco use. Chronic smokers may find their feet are constantly cold.

– Medications: Beta-blockers used to treat high blood pressure, migraine medications, and OTC cold medicine have all been linked to cold feet attacks and Raynaud’s.

Women tend to have colder feet than men, and old people have colder feet than young people. Living in a colder climate and genetics also play a role in whether a person has chronically cold feet or not. It could be something, or it could be nothing, but it’s best to see a doctor who can assess you for these other health issues.

What We Do for Cold Feet at the Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine

At our NY podiatry office, we have advanced therapies for diabetic neuropathy, nerve dysfunction, and inflammation. Ultrasound and shockwave therapy machines can trigger the body’s natural healing response and reduce pain for sufferers of cold feet. Our expert surgeons can also help people dealing with acute cases of frostbite. Raynaud’s sufferers may also consider nerve surgery as a way to relieve symptoms or reduce the number of attacks. Our high-tech diagnostic tools can identify problems in blood vessels, tendons, muscle, and nerve function. We may refer you to a medical doctor if other health conditions are suspected. Book your consultation in Manhattan or Westchester today.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.