According to a study conducted in Switzerland, those who suffer the most from cold feet are women, young people, and individuals with a low BMI (Body Mass Index). However, you can still experience the unpleasant sensation of cold feet even if you do not fall into these categories!

Indeed, there can be several causes behind this phenomenon, and the solutions to relieve it depend on these causes.

What are the causes of cold feet?

Cold Weather

Everyone has their own sensitivity to cold, but the body functions the same way for everyone: when temperatures are low, the body goes into "survival" mode and prioritizes blood flow to vital organs, such as the heart, at the expense of extremities like the feet. Generally, the feet are also physically farther away and therefore more difficult to circulate blood to from the heart.

But this is not irreversible! Here are some tips to keep your feet warm in winter:

  • Opt for quality socks: To keep your feet warm in winter, there is a perfect material for socks: wool! Wool is the essential material for this cold season. Whether it comes from sheep, goats, or alpacas, this natural fiber is the best for thermal insulation.

    The higher the percentage of wool in a sock's composition, the more insulating and warm the sock is. Additionally, wool has a high capacity for absorbing and wicking away moisture, keeping you dry at all times. This detail should not be overlooked, especially considering that water is an excellent conductor of cold. Merino wool is the best variety of wool.

    Merino sheep can withstand temperatures ranging from -20°C to +35°C. Like traditional wool, its surface is covered with scales that make it irregular. However, these scales are three times finer! These scales easily trap air, providing insulation for your feet. Thanks to their fineness, Merino wool does not itch. In addition to being soft, it is lightweight and feels like a second skin.

  • Choose the right shoes: Make sure they have thick soles to insulate you from the ground, and are non-slip to prevent your foot from tensing up in search of grip. Your shoes should be adapted to the shape of your foot to properly support it without compressing it, to avoid cutting off blood circulation, and to allow maximum air space, which is the primary insulator in your shoes. For the same purpose, ensure that the lacing is even across the entire foot. It's also preferable to choose leather shoes. This material effectively isolates you from moisture. If your shoes are lined with wool or felted wool on the inside, you will be even more effectively protected from the cold.

  • Add warm insoles: You can also add removable felted wool insoles inside your shoes. They reflect heat and absorb moisture, while drying quickly.

  • Stay active: A simple tip for cold weather: move around! Exercising, even for a short time, helps to reactivate blood circulation. Walk, jump, or run for 5 to 10 minutes, and your feet will warm up!

  • Use a hot water bottle: At work behind your desk, at home watching TV, or in bed, make your hot water bottle your ally for this winter, and keep it near your feet!

What not to do!

  • Thick socks: Wearing this type of socks will only further compress your feet and exacerbate the issue of blood circulation. Remember, it is blood that carries heat!
  • Layering socks: You will get the same result as with overly thick socks: too much compression on your feet, leading to a feeling of cold.
  • Using foot warmers: Again, the extra thickness of foot warmers will compress your feet overall or on specific points, causing discomfort. Additionally, this extra thickness could hinder your balance and movements.

Another cause: your blood circulation is not optimal

Feeling cold in your feet can be worsened, and occur even outside of cold periods, if you have blood circulation issues.

What are the possible causes of blood circulation issues? The symptoms? How can you remedy them? Find out now!

Possible Causes of Poor Blood Circulation:

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Sitting at a desk or in a static position all day, and engaging in little physical activity.
  • Overweight: Excess weight puts more strain on the venous system due to increased abdominal pressure, making it less effective in the long term.
  • Stress: Intense stress can significantly increase adrenaline levels in our bodies. The body goes into a state of alert, similar to when exposed to cold. Blood is redirected to vital organs, at the expense of extremities like the feet.
  • Deficiencies: Anemia (iron deficiency) and Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a sensation of cold feet. A person with anemia has a lower level of hemoglobin in the blood and may suffer from low blood pressure. Vitamin B12 deficiency affects the nervous system but also leads to the sensation of cold feet.
  • Lifestyle Habits: Smoking and alcohol have a vasoconstrictor effect and are therefore exacerbating factors for blood circulation problems.
  • Medical Conditions: Raynaud's syndrome or disease, diabetes, or hypothyroidism are conditions that, by disrupting the body's functioning, can cause a sensation of cold feet.

Symptoms of Poor Blood Circulation:

  • Swelling of the Ankle: The appearance of edema around the ankle, especially if it disappears in the morning and reappears later in the day, is a sign of poor blood circulation.
  • Cold and Sometimes Blue Feet: This indicates a problem with venous return.
  • Heavy Legs: The feeling of heaviness in the lower limbs, worsened at the end of the day or in hot weather, also indicates a problem with venous return.
  • Tingling Sensation: These tingling or numbness in the legs are caused by the accumulation of toxins putting pressure on the tissues.

How to Address It:

As we have seen, problems with blood circulation can have various causes, some more serious than others. To rule out any risks, it is important to consult a healthcare professional. However, we do have some advice to help alleviate less serious causes and warm up your cold feet!

  • For quick but short-term relief: When it's cold, move! Take a few minutes to vigorously stretch your legs. You can also soak your feet in warm water, but not too hot!

  • For long-term, effective results: Take care of your feet: Long nails, calluses, corns, and foot sores are conditions that worsen circulation problems and the sensation of cold feet. These various skin thickenings increase pressure on the tissues. Don't hesitate to consult a podiatrist to effectively address these issues. You can also regularly massage your feet to stimulate microcirculation. The most effective method is to use a ball and roll it under the arch of your foot. Using essential oils that promote blood circulation or a heating cream is also possible.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eat a varied and balanced diet to provide your body with all the necessary nutrients for good blood circulation and effective body thermogenesis. Stay hydrated like you would in hot weather. Reduce or stop your alcohol and tobacco consumption. Engage in regular physical activity, preferably daily, even if it's just small exercises like a short walk or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This will help improve blood circulation throughout your body.

  • Make some small changes: Elevate your legs when sitting or lying down. A 5° incline is sufficient to be effective. Consider elevating the foot of your bed to enjoy the benefits even while sleeping. This relieves the gravitational pressure on your legs, promotes better toxin elimination, and facilitates blood flow back to the heart. As mentioned earlier, choose socks that help retain the warmth of your feet!

Have you heard the saying "Cold hands, warm heart"? Well, after reading these tips, we want to reassure you: it also works for feet!