Have a case of cold feet? This problem isn’t just a marital metaphor; it’s a common health condition among people of all ages, especially the elderly.
While cold feet can often be remedied with an extra pair of socks, that’s not always the case. A persistent case of cold feet might continue long after you’ve put on socks or taken refuge under a blanket. In these cases, a visit to the doctor can diagnose any underlying health issues, while home remedies and exercises can help warm things up in the meantime.
We’ve even included some recommendations for the best heat-retaining socks, so you can keep your feet warm no matter what you’re doing.
Common Causes of Cold Feet
While it’s normal to get a case of frozen toes every once in a while, if you’re bothering your bedmate every night or struggling to keep your feet warm indoors, there might be something more serious going on. Getting treatment for an undiagnosed health problem might improve your overall health — and put an end to your chronically cold feet!
Here’s a quick look at the most common causes of cold feet.
- Poor circulation
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
Poor circulation and peripheral neuropathy are the usual culprits behind cold feet. However, neither of these issues are not isolated conditions, they are just symptoms. Peripheral neuropathy can stem from a number of issues, including diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Poor circulation can stem from problems like peripheral artery disease, diabetes, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Raynaud’s is a common problem, especially among women or people living in cold climates. It occurs when your body overreacts to cold, leading to numbness, pale skin, and a tingling, stinging feeling as your fingers or toes warm back up. Raynaid’s attacks are often harmless, but you should bring it up with your doctor if they happen often.
Home Remedies for Poor Circulation
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to warm up your feet with no results.
However, putting your chilled toes too close to a fireplace or heater can result in burns. This can be especially dangerous for people with diabetes or other forms of neuropathy, as they might not feel the pain until it’s too late. Instead, you should focus on slowly, gently warming up your feet. This will help encourage circulation and keep your feet warm longer.
If layering your socks and hiding under a blanket isn’t working, here’s a few ways to safely alleviate cold feet.
If you suffer from cold feet, try warming up your hands and giving yourself a foot massage. When you massage any part of your body, it increases circulation and brings fresh blood to the area. The warmth from your hands and the gentle friction will heat your skin at the same time, which only boosts the effects.
There are many benefits to regular massages, especially for seniors. The increased circulation helps keep your muscles and tissues healthy, which improves conditions like arthritis and diabetes. A nice foot rub can also alleviate pain and give you a chance to check your feet for open sores.
Here is a massage therapist explaining how to warm up your hands and feet with various exercises and massage techniques.
Warm water baths
Hydrotherapy is a broad term that covers all forms of water-based treatments — including basic home remedies like foot baths and face steaming. If you burn your finger, submerging it in cool water can help reduce swelling and pain. Likewise, if your feet are cold, soaking them in warm water can warm them up and increase circulation.
It’s important to use warm water, not hot. If you’ve ever tested the shower water with your hand before getting in, you know that what feels warm to our hands might feel hotter on our bodies. If your feet are cold to the touch, you should be using gentle, warm water to heat them up. Anything more might lead to pain and possible burns.
After your foot bath, try massaging your feet with lotion and putting on thick socks. This will ensure that your feet stay warm for hours afterward.
Heating pads and water bottles
Heating pads, blankets, and warm water bottles are all great ways to compensate for poor circulation. Snuggle up close to something warm, and thermodynamic equilibrium will do the rest of the work. Just make sure to wrap these items in towels and avoid direct contact with the skin.
If your feet are cold and numb, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. However, moving around is a great way to get your blood flowing and warm up your toes. The best part? You don’t have to jump up and do a full session of cardio — these exercises can be done while sitting down.
Just focus on rotating your ankles and wiggling your toes for at least a minute at a time. You can also search foot warmups to find more exercises. True to their name, feet warmups can increase circulation in your feet and make them feel warmer. These exercises are used by dancers to prepare for practices and performances!
Here’s a video that includes several simple, easy exercises for your feet.
The Best Socks For Cold Feet
When it comes to cold feet, wearing any old pair of socks might not cut it. A good pair of heat-retaining socks can go a long way, especially in the wintertime. If you’re not sure where to start your search, here’s five different materials and styles that might suit you perfectly.
These socks are not only lined with a soft, heavy cushioning, but the thick yarn is designed to keep heat inside. They’re popular among skiers and outdoorsmen, which means they’re perfect for people with cold feet.
Made primarily of merino wool, these socks are tightly knit and great for cold feet. The toes and heel are reinforced to make sure they don’t wear thin, and wool is notorious for retaining heat and having a high absorbency. This means your feet will stay warm all day, even if you sweat or step in something wet.
Hot Feet makes socks for everyone, from children to adults. You can find plenty of styles, but their thermal socks are probably what you’re looking for. They are fully cushioned, reinforced, and made with a wool-blend designed to retain heat.
If you need something a little more intense, socks with heated insoles can warm your feet up while you’re wearing them. These socks are thick and soft, and they come with grips on the bottom to prevent slips and falls. The insoles can be placed in the microwave for 60 seconds, and they radiate heat for up to 30 minutes afterward!
If you’re looking for a brand dedicated to making thermal socks, Heat Holders® is a name you’ll hear more than once. These socks come in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, and every pair is made specifically with heat retention in mind. The insides are brushed, the acrylic fibers are designed to wick away moisture, and the long-looped knit is designed to hold in warm air.
Chances are, you’ll find the perfect pair of socks in this list. Just remember to massage your feet and use other cold foot remedies before putting on your socks. This will make sure that your feet are producing their own warmth while the socks hold it in!