Cold feet and hands can be a discomforting issue that many individuals face. While occasional coldness is usually not a cause for concern, persistent or accompanied symptoms may indicate an underlying medical condition. This article explores the remedies, causes, and expert advice related to cold feet and hands. Learn how to address this issue and improve your comfort.
Our bodies are naturally designed to regulate temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, blood flow is directed towards the core and vital organs to keep them warm. Consequently, the blood flow to the hands and feet decreases, leading to a sensation of coldness. This constriction of blood vessels is a normal physiological response to prevent heat loss from the core.
Remedies for Cold Feet and Hands
- Consider clothing choices: Wear appropriate clothing such as hats, gloves, warm socks, and coats to protect yourself from cold weather. Layering your clothing can help maintain warmth, and avoid wearing tight clothes. Scarves or turtlenecks can be useful in retaining heat.
- Ensure children are dressed properly: Make sure children are warmly dressed and teach them to come indoors if they feel chilled or if their hands and feet are cold.
- Wear socks or slippers: Use warm socks or slippers to keep your feet cozy, even indoors.
- Engage in regular exercise: Daily exercise, including walking, can improve blood circulation and help combat cold feet and hands.
- Perform quick warm-up exercises: Stimulate blood flow by performing activities like jumping jacks, marching in place, wiggling toes, rotating feet, and making circular motions with your fingers and arms.
- Avoid prolonged sitting: Regularly take breaks, stretch, or walk around every half-hour to promote circulation.
- Utilize electric heating pads: Electric heating pads, available in various sizes and styles, can be used to warm specific areas of your body.
- Target your lower back: Place a heating pad on your lower back to enhance blood flow and warmth in your feet.
- Hold something warm: Grasp a warm drink to provide temporary warmth to your hands.
- Quick massage: Vigorously massage your hands or feet to stimulate blood circulation.
- Use hand or foot warmers: Keep single-use or reusable hand or foot warmers on hand when venturing into cold environments. These are available commercially and can provide warmth for several hours.
Expert Tips on Keeping Hands Warm
We consulted Wendy Slate, a Certified Hand Therapist with 38 years of experience, for additional advice on managing cold hands and feet. Here are some of her recommendations:
- Prefer mittens over gloves: Mittens keep your fingers together, conserving warmth more effectively.
- Try paraffin wax treatment: Soothe arthritis and warm your hands by using a paraffin wax bath. You can purchase a paraffin wax kit for home use. After immersing your hands in the wax, wrap them in a plastic bag to retain the heat, then cover them with towels.
- Apply heat with moisture: Consider using moist heat packs that can be warmed in the microwave. These packs, often filled with beans, rice, or other grains, provide moist heat that penetrates better.
- Avoid direct contact with frozen items: If you have Raynaud’s syndrome, steer clear of freezer sections in stores. If contact with frozen items is necessary, wear gloves for protection.
- Explore biofeedback therapy: Temperature biofeedback, guided by a therapist, can help increase circulation in your hands. Imagery techniques, such as visualizing.