Ever wonder why your feet are always cold? It could be a symptom of something more serious. A common complaint of the chronically cold is that their feet are nearly always freezing. Here are five common causes:
Cold feet can also be due to poor circulation — less blood running through the veins means things cool down faster. This can happen for a number of reasons — from sitting still for too long to smoking — and is particularly common among people who’ve had previous surgeries on their legs (i.e., those who’ve had their legs opened up for vein treatments).
If you have diabetes, nerve damage in your feet can cause poor circulation and lead to neuropathy — a condition in which your body feels things differently than normal. Over time, neuropathy can cause your feet to be colder than usual and feel numb or tingly. That’s because the nerves in your feet aren’t sending normal signals to your brain.
During pregnancy, many women develop peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is the narrowing of the arteries and blood vessels that supply blood to the legs, arms and other areas away from the heart. PAD makes it difficult for blood to reach your extremities, so they feel colder than usual. The coldness can be a warning sign of cardiovascular problems, so it’s important to see your doctor if this happens to you while pregnant or postpartum.
A few minutes of deep breathing can temporarily lower stress levels and reduce inflammation in the body, both of which may help prevent cold hands and feet. When you’re stressed out, your body produces higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline — hormones that increase your heart rate and constrict your blood vessels, making them less efficient at distributing the heat generated by your body throughout your extremities.
If you have a pinched nerve or have had a foot injury in the past, you may notice that one foot is colder than the other. This is because when a nerve isn’t sending signals properly, it’s less able to regulate temperature control in the extremities.