Friday, February 3, 2023
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Your Cold Feet Could Be A Warning

Do you suffer from…

Cold feet

Freezing toes

Swollen toes

Lack of foot fuzz,

Painful cramps

 

Even when you wear the fuzzy socks, these are all common foot woes, but did you ever stop to think that these may indicate more serious medical conditions.

In the winter months, it’s easy to blame cold feet on the weather. However it is very important to pay close attention to changes in your feet and more so do not ignore your feet when you feel any of the symptoms mentioned, as your feet may be trying to tell you that there are some deeper serious health conditions

So don’t ignore your feet and these persistent footsie issues.

1. Foot Cramps

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with cramping?

You could also have foot cramping during an exercise session.

Do you know that this is a sign of dehydration?

 

The lower half of your body could indicate a lack of fluids being taken in by your upper half, but foot cramps are a prime indication of dehydration.

If you exercise regularly and are prone to foot cramping during workouts, keep hydrating your self throughout your workout.

If fluid intake is not the problem, Charlie horses (cramps) also indicate a potassium deficiency.

  1. Numbness & Tingling

Numbness or tingling (Neuroma) in one or both feet can indicate a few different medical issues.

Numbness in both feet can indicate Peripheral Neuropathy, a condition that’s familiar to diabetics.

Numbness or tingles in just one foot, could be a pinched nerve in your back or in the actual affected foot.

Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy are injury, vitamin deficiency, autoimmune diseases, some medications, alcoholism, bone marrow disorders or an inactive thyroid or a complication of diabetes.

  1. Cold Feet

Hypothyroidism is a condition that eventually causes lack of energy, hair loss, fatigue, and unexplained weight gain…but it starts with chronic cold feet. If you notice that your toes are freezing and do not warm up with socks and blankets, you could have a slow Thyroid.

  1. Swollen Big Toe

If your big toe suddenly swells up for no apparent reason, you may be suffering from gout. This inflammatory condition will show itself in a red, hot, swollen, and painful big toe— this is the first sign, before it affects your other joints.

  1. Heel Pain

When a sharp pain shoots up your heel into your calf —plantar fasciitis is the culprit; it’s a strain or pressure on the ligament in the foot that supports the arch. Plantar Fasciitis is caused by wearing shoes that lack foot support and are uncomfortable to wear, this leads to collapsing of the ligament. Rest and regular stretching is recommended to heal and strengthen your foot.

  1. Discolored Nails

If your nail appears thick, broken, and yellow or grey, you may have caught a nasty nail fungus—likely from unclean pedicure equipment. You can also give yourself a fungus if you wear the same nail polish for months without cleaning it off. Give you nails a break, air them between polish sessions and see your doctor for an anti-fungal treatment.

 

  1. Flaky Feet

Flaky or peeling skin on your feet and toes is common if you run or workout regularly or you could be dealing with a nasty fungal infection or athlete’s foot—a condition that is caused due to walking barefoot in a shared shower, slushy water on the road during the monsoon. Always wash your feet thoroughly when you get home and leave them open to dry completely.

  1. Lack of Foot Fuzz

Most of us do have a fine coating of fuzz on our toes and feet (yes, even the ladies). It’s a healthy indication of good blood circulation. However, if your toes lack any hair, you may have a circulation issue or a more serious heart condition.

  1. Anemia

Anemia occurs in those who lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the tissues, particularly the extremities like the feet and hands. In addition to sapping your energy levels, anemia can result in lack of blood circulation. Feeling tired, weak or dizzy or experiencing shortness of breath or an irregular heartbeat are other common signs of Anemia.

 

  1. Diabetes

Poor circulation is also common in diabetes patients who also heal slowly due to lack of blood flow.

  1. Frostbite

Frostbite occurs underneath the skin, where the tissues actually freeze numb, and become hard and pale—particularly in winter.  You will notice this in the fingers, toes, and ears, the most exposed areas of your body.

  1. Lupus

Lupus can actually result in the contraction of the small blood vessels, preventing blood flow to the skin in hands and feet.

  1. Menstruation

The female hormone Oestrogen, which regulates the peripheral blood vessels and increases during menstruation, often make us more sensitive to cold temperatures.

  1. Raynaud’s Syndrome

A type of Vasospastic disorder where patients often complain of cold, sensitive extremities.

  1. Smoking

Nicotine can lead to poor circulation—due to adrenaline in the body preventing blood flow to the muscles. I bet you weren’t aware of this.

 

  1. Blood Clots

Sometimes cold hands and feet can signal a blood clot or interrupted blood flow via the veins or arteries—especially if fatty deposits build up and create a blockage, resulting in peripheral arterial disease.

  1. Sedentary Lifestyle

Poor blood circulation, due to lack of activity will typically result in cold hands and feet. However, a bit of light exercise will restores blood flow and heat to the muscles and skin fairly quickly.

  1. Prescription Medication

Cold feet can be a common side effect of certain prescription medications—such as beta-blockers for migraines or even birth control pills, which can affect hormone levels.

 

  1. Peripheral Artery Disease

If one foot feels colder than the other, it may be a sign of peripheral artery disease. This problem can slow or block blood flow to your feet or legs, making them feel cold. Other symptoms include painful calves or having sores on your feet that won’t get better. The likelihood of peripheral artery disease is greater in smokers, people with high cholesterol or blood pressure and increases with age.

 

With all these symptoms and probably serious underlying health issues, this research has burnt the adage I have lived by  “cold feet, warm heart,” we can’t always blame it on Winter.

The good news is that you can overcome or be in remission with caring daily for your feet.

Some home remedies…
  1. Rosewater

Rose water misted over feet or used in a foot soak, provides replenishing and antibacterial benefits to feet, it’s rich in vitamins A, C, and E too.

  1. Honey

Mix a spoonful of honey with warm water and use it as a moisturizing footbath to soothe dry, cracked feet and heels. Plus, honey has antibacterial properties so you can scrub without irritating your toes and feet.

  1. Lemon

The acidic prowess of lemons banishes cracked, dry feet. Apply a few cups of fresh lemon juice to a warm footbath and soak for twenty minutes.

 

  1. Banana

Over-ripe bananas are actually a soothing foot paste for dry feet. Just peel and mash your banana into a smooth paste (you can also use a food processor), apply over dry areas, let sit for ten minutes, then rinse clean with warm water.

 

  1. Vegetable Oil

Olive, coconut, safflower, and even sesame oil works wonders on dry, cracked feet. Scrub the dry skin using a loofah, rinse and dry, then rub the veggie oil all over your feet and pull on a pair of cotton socks to sleep in. When you rise, your feet will be fully moisturized and rejuvenated.

  1. Glycerin

The thick, moisturizing ointment can be smeared over and rubbed directly into dry patches on your skin or feet. You can even smear a thick layer on your toes and wear socks to bed to let it soak up moisture overnight.

  1. Oatmeal

A home made foot scrub that mixes in the soothing properties of oatmeal and another essential oil (i.e., jojoba or rose) will scrub dry patches from your feet and heels in no time. Simply make a paste with a few tablespoons of oats, oil, and water, and apply it over dry heels and callused areas. Let the paste set for twenty minutes, rinse clean with cold water, and dry feet thoroughly.

  1. Paraffin Wax

If your heels are painfully cracked, oftentimes the only remedy is paraffin wax. The thick, white, waxy lubricant can be quickly fashioned into a home spa treatment by mixing warm wax with other moisturizing essential oils (i.e., jojoba, lavender, or rose), applying to the feet overnight, and rinsing off in the morning.

 

Foot care on a daily basis will turn ‘cold feet warm heart’ into ‘warm feet warm heart.’

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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