From poor circulation to nerve damage to simple stress (why do you think pre-wedding jitters are termed “cold feet”?), there are a number of factors that could be causing your feet to always feel chilly. See below for common causes, but don't fret, there are a number of easy ways to warm up cold feet.
Common Causes for Cold Feet
- Colder Temperatures - cooler temps cue the body to conserve heat and direct more blood to your core to keep internal organs warm. This results in decreased circulation to your extremities including feet, hands, and even your ears and nose
- Limited Movement - sitting too much can reduce circulation to the legs and feet
- High Cholesterol - build-up of cholesterol and inflammation in your blood vessels can lead to circulation problems, which can ultimately lead to cold feet
- Smoking - according to the CDC, chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause the cells that line the blood vessels to become swollen and inflamed, which can lead to reduced circulation and cold feet
- Low Iron - A lack of iron in your diet can potentially lead to anemia resulting in fatigue, headaches and chronic cold feet
- B12 Deficiency - found most frequently among vegetarians and vegans, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause nerve problems leading to a “pins and needles” sensation in your hands and feet
Lack of Folate / B9 - Another potential cause of anemia is a lack of folic acid (vitamin B-9) which can reduce your red blood cell count and lead to decreased circulation and cold feet
Nerve Damage - Neuropathy, which can be linked in diabetes, may also be the culprit. If you sense your feet are cold, but they don’t actually feel cold to the touch, it could be that the nerves which detect temperature are not working properly
Stress - When stress levels in the body are higher, your brain directs more blood to your core and away from your extremities
Thyroid Condition - Hypothyroidism, a common thyroid condition caused by insufficient creation and release of thyroid hormone into your bloodstream. Hypothyroidism can slow down your metabolism and decrease circulation resulting in cold feet
Genetics - For some people, there’s no specific reason why they’ve got cold feet - it’s just a normal part of their genetic makeup. Because of this, some researchers theorize that having cold feet is simply an inherited traitHaving cold feet occasionally is perfectly normal, but persistent cold feet may be a sign of a more serious medical condition like diabetes, hypothyroidism or anemia. If you suspect a more serious medical issue, consult a podiatrist or general physician.
Sources: WebMD, Harvard Health, Cleveland Clinic and CDC