Cold Feet

Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:

  • Acquired from improper footwear, physical stress, or small mechanical changes within the foot.
  • Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joint.
  • Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth, are generally inherited.
  • Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal disorders.
  • Neoplastic disorders, usually called tumors, which are the result of abnormal growth of tissue and may be benign or malignant.
  • Traumatic foot problems, which are associated with foot and ankle injuries.

Cold feet are most commonly a result of medical conditions that cause poor blood flow in the legs or feet, such as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), a blockage or narrowing of the arteries, Raynauds’s phenomenon (cold sensitivity which causes a spasm of the blood vessels), and heart disease. Some medications which cause constriction of blood vessels can also lead to cold feet or limbs. Beta blockers for high blood pressure, ergotamine medications for migraine headaches, and cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine may all cause this problem.

Other potential causes of cold feet include hormonal abnormalities such as hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency, nerve disorders such as peripheral neuropathy and fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disorders (lupus, scleroderma).

Because there is such a wide range of causes for cold feet, it is important to see a foot and ankle surgeon for diagnosis and treatment.


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