Cold Feet: Causes and Treatment
July 15, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

Cold Feet: Causes and Treatment

Having cold feet is quite common. Even in the hot summer season, one may have a hot or warm upper body but may have cold feet. It may be due to several reasons. The most common causes of cold feet are as follows:

Experiencing anxiety or stress:

Anxiety, tension or stress are those things that are responsible for the production and release of adrenaline in our bodies. As the body prepares itself for the fight-or-flight mode in a stressful situation, it tries to reserve the energy for anticipated danger or bodily harm.

This causes the arteries and veins in body extremities, including the farthest limbs and toes, to constrict and lessen the blood flow flowing through them. This shallow circulation in the hands and feet due to anxiety becomes the reason for being cold, even in warm weather.

This may become quite harmful for anxious people as they tend to experience anxiety often and consistently have cold hands and feet. This low circulation in the body may cause other problems too.

Low circulation:

Low blood circulation in the body is a quite common reason for having cold feet. Other than stress, there are multiple reasons for low blood circulation throughout the body which can be seen and experienced on usual occasions.

For example, a person who gets little to no physical exercise, and sits behind the desk all day gains little flow of warm blood in the body’s extremities. For example, their feet and legs may get numb and cold more often than a person who has a physical job.

Another example includes smokers. Smoking tobacco also causes the blood flow to decrease. Blood may not reach every part of the body due to resistance caused by tobacco. Smokers may complain of having cold and “blue” feet.

Hypertension, high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, and other heart-related diseases may also cause low blood circulation in the body due to constriction of blood capsules and capillaries. High blood sugar, also known as diabetes mellitus, may also become a source of cold feet due to the narrowing of blood arteries and decreased blood flow to the body tissues. Diabetic patients may often complain of numbness, prickling or even burning sensations in the feet.


Anemia is a condition in which the person suffers from a low red blood cell count in the body. This may occur due to several reasons, including iron deficiency, kidney or liver problems, etc.

Anemic patients, mostly the ones who suffer from moderate to severe anemia, may complain regarding cold hands and feet. This may cause them severe discomfort but can be managed through a change in diet and daily routine.


Neuropathy (nerve disorders) may also cause cold feet. This may extend to severe conditions including frostnip (a condition where the extremities of hands and feet get purplish-blue, numb, swollen and painful due to cold temperature or lack of blood supply), frostbite in severe conditions, or organ or nerve damage.

These nerve disorders may be due to organ failures like liver or kidney damage, or severe infections. Genetics may also play a role in neuropathy. Cold feet are a very common symptom in these cases and may become severe if experienced on a regular basis and not treated soon.

Treatment of Cold Feet

Movement or physical exercise on a regular basis is the most effective way to deal with cold feet. The higher the blood circulation, the warmer the whole body remains. Wearing socks and warm clothing is necessary unless it is itchy. Also, foot massage also works as it improves blood flow in the feet. Contact Shifa4U to get more information on this matter.

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Farah Jassawalla

Farah Jassawalla is a graduate of the Lahore School of Economics. She is also a writer, and healthcare enthusiast, having closely observed case studies while working with Lahore's thriving general physicians at their clinics.