What Are Cold Feet?

Right out of the gates circulation is the key to life, from the streams to our circulation system. You might experience cold feet at the water cooler or on your wedding day, but we're here to change that. . The main contributor is poor circulation in and around the foot. The blood vessel supplies oxygen to vital muscles needed for proper repair. Inflammation is a sign of an underlying issue which include foot problems. On the contrary as is cold feet.  

The key is blood circulation.When blood vessels are constricted whether it’s a result of the cold or an autoimmune deficiency It's a matter of poor circulation. Our bodies cannot deliver enough oxygen to other parts as our feet. This process is called  as vasodilation, and in some cases, it’s the result of our body trying to keep in the heat to keep our internal organs warm. Bad circulation in the legs and feet can cause cold feet. This affects approximately four million people in the UK.1

Circulation is indeed the key to vascular health, but the fact is that there are other factors involved. When circulatory issues are serious this could be a sign of underlying health issues. Diseases of the circulatory system account for around 40 per cent  of deaths in the UK each year.1 The average human body contains over 60,000 miles of blood vessels. The road to fixing circulatory issues might be a long but as per the words of Lao Tzu 

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 


Circulatory issues are not uncommon. They can arise from many different factors, from complex issues such as obesity and autoimmune disorders, not limited to being exposed to the cold. There are many ways to remedy this, but most of it roots in physical health. From your dietary needs to physical activity, physical activityis critical for your overall well-being and is affected by lifestyle, diet, level of physical activity, and behaviour (for instance, smoking).3

Causes of cold feet

There is a range of factors that cause cold feet. They can be both physical and mental, some of these include5

  1. Poor circulation: Circulation in and around the feet is reduced, and they may feel cold. This can be caused by numerous factors from lifestyle choices like smoking and dietary preference, to arterial diseases, autoimmune deficiencies, and other health issues such as diabetes or Reynaud’s disease
  2. Hypothyroidism: Underactive thyroid gland can slow down the metabolism which plays a vital role in blood flow and so it can cause a feeling of coldness in the feet
  3. Anaemia: The quantity of red blood cells or haemoglobin reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the feet, resulting in a feeling of coldness
  4. Nerve damage: Damage to the nerves that control blood flow to the feet can cause a sensation of coldness
  5. Medications: Certain medications, such as beta-blockers and some antidepressants, can cause cold feet as a side effect
  6. Poorly fitting shoes: Shoes that are too tight or too loose can restrict blood flow to the feet, causing them to feel cold
  7. Cold weather: Exposure to cold temperatures can cause the blood vessels in the feet to constrict, reducing blood flow and resulting in cold feet
  8. Anxiety: Stress and anxiety can cause the body to release hormones that constrict blood vessels, resulting in a feeling of coldness in the feet

Signs and symptoms of cold feet

The signs and symptoms of cold feet may vary from person to person, but some common symptoms are:6

  1. Changes in complexion such as pale or bluish skin.
  2. Physical sensations such as:
    • A feeling of coldness, tingling, or prickling sensations
    • Slowed healing of wounds on the feet
    • Reduced sensation in the feet
    • Pain or discomfort in the feet
    • Stiffness or cramping in the feet
    • Slowed healing of wounds on the feet
    • Weakness or fatigue in the feet

Management and treatment for cold feet


How are cold feet diagnosed?

There are different ways to evaluate whether or not you have cold feet. The diagnosis is based on visible traits and physical sensations. Colour changes can be a clear sign of a lack of circulation to the feet. In terms of the physical signs, the feeling of pain, pins, and needles, and numbness are signs of a lack of circulation to the feet. A medical practitioner may perform an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test on you to evaluate blood flow in your lower limbs by employing an inflatable blood pressure cuff. The ABI test is a useful diagnostic tool for identifying peripheral artery disease, which manifests itself as cold feet.

How can I prevent cold feet?

The key is circulation and the best way to keep it flowing is some good old tender love and care (TLC). Improving circulation and preventing blood clots can start with maintaining healthy habits like wearing warm socks, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, elevating legs while lying down, and staying hydrated. These solutions correspond to treating your physical and mental health. If you are on medications, don’t stop your medication, instead contact your healthcare professional for alternative solutions. Ailments like peripheral arterial disease are more serious and can result in other symptoms like cold feet. [8] Solutions like hormone replacement therapy could be a viable option, especially in old age. If TLC doesn't work consult your local healthcare GP (doctor, physio, or nutritionist) are great option to get a head start on the matter.

Who are at risk of cold feet?

Cold feet are a normal occurrence affecting about four million people in the UK. It’s especially common in colder climates. It is especially common among people with autoimmune conditions, circulatory issues such as peripheral arterial disease, and hormonal conditions. [6] Foot care is key, and without proper foot care, people become more at risk of poor circulation.

How common are cold feet?

Foot problems are not uncommon, of the approximately 4 million people in the UK about 67 million people suffer from bad circulation that results in cold feet.7

When should I see a doctor?

If the visible and physical symptoms are chronic and always present it’s important to seek medical attention. This could be a sign of an underlying health condition.


Cold feet are a common ailment that occur for various reasons. With the proper tools, it can be managed. You can seek help from a doctor, nutritionist, or physiotherapist. This could help you come up with some helpful solutions. It’s not severe in most cases, although if it continues, it could indicate more serious medical conditions.


  1. House of Lords - the long-term sustainability of the NHS. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldnhssus/151/15109.htm#:~:text=Around%2040%25%20of%20premature%20mortality,and%20chronic%20obstructive%20pulmonary%20disease. [cited 2023Mar9]. Available from: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201617/ldselect/ldnhssus/151/15109.htm 
  2. Brukner, Peter, and Karim Khan. Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine. Volume 1: Injuries. Edited by Ben Clarsen et al., 5th edition, McGraw-Hill Education (Australia), 2017.
  3. Physical health [Internet]. EUPATI Toolbox. 2020 [cited 2023Mar9]. Available from: https://toolbox.eupati.eu/glossary/physical-health/ 
  4. Seizures - symptoms and causes [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2023 [cited 2023Mar2]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seizure/symptoms-causes/syc-20365711
  5. Poor circulation: Symptoms, causes and treatment [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2023Mar9]. Available from:https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21882-poor-circulation.  [6]Cold feet causes & treatment [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2023Mar9]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23045-cold-feet 
  6. United Kingdom [Internet]. United Kingdom - Place Explorer - Data Commons. [cited 2023Mar10]. Available from: https://datacommons.org/place/country/GBR?utm_medium=explore&mprop=count&popt=Person&hl=en 
  7. Westendorp IC;in't Veld BA;Grobbee DE;Pols HA;Meijer WT;Hofman A;Witteman JC; Hormone replacement therapy and Peripheral Arterial Disease: The rotterdam study [Internet]. Archives of internal medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine; [cited 2023Mar10]. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10979062/ 
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Alejandro Lazaro Diaz Rojas Sesto

Bachelors of Science-BSc in Medical Physics with honours and a minor in mathematics, Toronto Metropolitan University

Hello, my name is Alejandro, I’m a recent graduate in medical physics looking to continue my pursuit in the field of health sciences. I’ve worked extensively in the field of healthcare alongside doctors, personal support workers, and physiotherapists ---one thing I’ve learned is that far too often people ironically leave appointments with more problems than they came in with. I believe in the power of education, equipping yourself with the information you need to devise your own solutions. Just as well to be able to ask your medical professional the right questions to leave with Klarity. I know that no matter how complex something is, it can always be simplified. With a world rampant with problems, let’s start finding some solutions and work together to build from there.

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