Cold feet – what to do?

Cold feet and cold hands often plague us during the cold season. Women in particular often crawl into bed with ice feet in winter. But cold feet are not only uncomfortable. Sometimes there are also diseases behind the symptoms. If your feet keep getting cold even in summer, you should have the reasons clarified by a doctor. Otherwise, there are various tips and tricks to heat up cold feet again and contribute to 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 outside.  Therefore, feet cool down quickly as soon as the cold season sets in. When temperatures drop, our body tries to supply all important organs and protect them from the cold. To keep the brain, heart and all other organs warm, the heat is extracted from the feet and hands and redistributed.

The organism can regulate the heat independently by constricting the vessels and thus restricting the transport of warm blood towards the hands and feet. The constricted vessels are less well supplied with blood, fingers and toes cool down. That is why it is helpful in autumn and winter to wear thick socks and gloves to protect against the cold. In extreme situations with very low temperatures, unprotected limbs can even die due to the lack of blood.

Other causes of cold feet

In addition to the cold,  wetness  can also lead to lumps of ice on your feet and hands. Wet skin causes what is known as evaporation cooling when the cold moisture on the skin dissipates the heat to the outside. Again, the body reacts by constricting blood vessels. People who are struggling with sweaty feet are therefore more likely to suffer from cold toes.

Clothing  also plays  a role: tight shoes or socks with tight cuffs press on the blood vessels and are therefore an obstacle to adequate blood circulation. Frosty temperatures with wetness and inappropriate clothing are typical causes of cold feet and hands.

Why do women in particular suffer from cold feet?

Ice feet are mostly found in women – around eight out of ten women are affected. Men tend to suffer less from the symptoms because they have more muscle – and muscles generate body heat because using the muscles uses 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 around 40 percent muscles, the figure for women is around 23 percent. Accordingly, the female organism generates less body heat and cold hands and feet occur more frequently.

Women also often have a lower body mass than men. Because of this, they have a different ratio of body mass to surface area. This poorer 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 heat distribution on the central organs. And because these are in the middle of the body, hands and feet cool down faster.

9 tips against cold feet

But what helps against cold feet? Try the following tips:

  • Warm socks:  Warm socks are good insulators against the cold and can prevent your feet from getting cold. The socks should be thick and loose fitting. Tight frets constrict blood vessels, making the problem worse.
  • Avoid sweaty feet  :  wet feet cool down even more. Therefore, the socks should be changed as soon as they  become damp from sweat .
  • No tight shoes:  Tight shoes put pressure on the blood vessels and impair blood circulation. The result is cold feet.
  • Foot baths:  Rising foot baths followed by dry rubbing stimulate blood circulation and widen constricted vessels. The footbath should be gradually heated from around 33 to 40 degrees Celsius by pouring in hot water.
  • Hot- water bottle:  Hot-water bottles quickly warm up cold feet and prevent icy feet in bed.
  • Foot massages:  Gentle  massages  promote blood circulation. A hedgehog ball can be used for this, for example.
  • Toe gymnastics:  In the office, even small exercises like wiggling your toes and circling your feet can help.
  • Foot cream:  Creams with active ingredients that stimulate circulation can help to warm up the feet.
  • Hot spices:  chili, pepper and  ginger  bring beads of sweat to our faces and can really heat up the body. But soups, stews or  hot drinks  also stimulate blood circulation.

Prevent cold feet

Ice feet can be specifically prevented, especially by stimulating blood circulation. Vessels can be trained through an  interplay of heat and cold  . In the summer, treading water is popular. The icy water makes your skin tingle and stimulates blood circulation. In winter, a short stay in the snow has the same effect. The feet should then be dried immediately and warmed up. But alternating baths or visits to the sauna also promote blood circulation.

Foot exercises  also have a preventive effect. A particularly efficient exercise is picking up objects with your toes. For example, a pen is dropped. To challenge the foot even more, the pen should be held with the toes for as long as possible.

These tips will also help prevent cold feet:

  • Reduce animal products:  The  cholesterol  in animal products promotes the formation of vascular calcifications, which impair blood circulation. That is why you should eat more fruit and  vegetables  .
  • Green vegetables: Vitamin B in  particular   protects the nerves, which are important for the regulation of heat and cold in our body. That is why there should be enough green vegetables on every menu.
  • Drink enough water:  If you drink a lot, the blood can circulate better. Dehydration thickens the consistency of the blood.
  • No alcohol:  Alcohol draws water out of the body, making symptoms worse.
  • Sport:  Regular exercise promotes blood circulation.
  • Quit smoking:  Nicotine constricts the blood vessels and is a risk factor for many diseases.

Cold feet as a warning signal

Cold feet often occur when blood circulation in the body is restricted. First, a tingling sensation is felt in the affected body regions. The fabric can also discolour.

The cause of the impaired blood circulation can lie 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 signal for illnesses. If someone always suffers from cold feet, it may be advisable to have the cause clarified by a doctor.

role of blood vessels

Cold feet can be an indication of impaired blood vessels. The following reasons are possible for this:

  • low blood pressure When blood pressure is too low, the blood supply to the hands and feet may decrease.
  • Vascular calcifications:  Vascular calcifications are also known as  arteriosclerosis  . Deposits in the vessels reduce blood flow. The deposits are caused by fats. Cholesterol in particular is considered to be responsible for the narrowing.

Other risk factors for arterial calcification are tobacco use,  diabetes  and  stress . A healthy diet with few animal products can reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis.

Nerve disorders as a 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 vegetative nervous system, the organism regulates the blood flow with the use of hormones.

Nerve disorders can therefore affect the regulation of cold and heat. For example, diabetes can cause long-term damage to nerves (diabetic neuropathy). In addition, hormonal problems influence heat regulation. This includes, among other things, an  underactive thyroid .

Our mind also affects the body. Through the vegetative nervous system and the various hormones, psychological problems can affect blood circulation. Stress,  depression  and anxiety attacks are also potential causes of cold feet.


If hands and feet are constantly freezing,  Raynaud’s syndrome can be  behind the symptoms. This is a vascular disorder that causes cramps, pain and discoloration in 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 definitely be examined by a doctor.

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