What causes coldness in your feet

Excessive freezing or feeling cold

Freeze is the feeling of lack of warmth, either inside the body or on the body surface. As soon as the temperature of the blood drops, the brain registers the deviation from the target value. At the same time, the brain continuously receives information from the cold receptors in the skin about the threat of cooling from outside. In this case, the vessels in the skin contract, so that the arms and legs are less supplied with blood and as little heat as possible is lost in the periphery of the body. "Goosebumps" is also a strategy of the body to counteract the drop in temperature: as the fine body hairs stand up, an insulating air cushion is formed. The proverbial "chattering of teeth" occurs when the muscles shake to produce heat.

The tendency to freeze differs from person to person: women freeze faster than men, slim people faster than fat people, older people faster than younger people. Babies cool down particularly quickly. Freezing also occurs when the setpoint temperature rises, e.g. B. with feverish infections, or when the heat production by the metabolism decreases, z. B. when fasting or as a result of hormonal disorders. Reduced blood flow to the skin also causes freezing, because the temperature drop in the skin is registered by the cold receptors.

Sometimes sudden freezing with an outbreak of cold sweat is an acute warning signal: it often indicates the onset of shock or some other serious illness.

Symptoms, their causes, measures and self-help

  • Freezing when exhausted, Lack of sleep or emotional tension

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  • Sudden chills or chills with fatigue; cold, pale hands and feet; possibly chills

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  • Increased Sensitivity to cold in old or underweight people

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  • Common Sensation of coldness in hands and feet, possibly tendency to shiver; often persistent tiredness, lack of drive; possibly recurring headaches, palpitations, ringing in the ears, dizziness

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  • Increased Sensitivity to cold with persistent fatigue and lack of energy; Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain; Brown discoloration of the skin (hyperpigmentation)

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  • Increased Sensitivity to cold with persistent fatigue and slowdown; Swelling of the face and tongue, dry skin; often overweight

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  • Increased Sensitivity to cold with persistent fatigue; Decrease in pubic hair; Reduction of breasts or testicles

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  • Sudden freezing cold sweat and noticeably gray, cool skin; Tremors, restlessness, fear; possibly drowsiness up to unconsciousness

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  • Sudden Freezing and cold sweats in known diabetes; Cravings, palpitations, tremors; possibly drowsiness up to unconsciousness

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  • Seizure Feeling of coldness and numbness with sharply defined whiteness of fingers and / or toes; mostly triggered by stress or cold; Seizure duration a few minutes

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  • Feeling cold and pain in one or both legs when walking for a long time, possibly also lying down; pale skin and possibly numbness on the affected leg; possibly open spots on the foot or lower leg

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  • Sudden feeling of cold and tightness in the calf or whole leg; Increase in the circumference of the affected leg, possibly bluish shiny skin; Pain when walking and when coughing

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  • Constant or recurring Feeling cold, pain, tingling, and / or numbness; mostly stocking-shaped expansion on the lower legs and feet

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  • Seizure Feeling cold in arms and / or legs when taking medication

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Freezing when exhausted, Lack of sleep or emotional tension

Root cause:

  • limited body temperature regulation

Self help:

  • Warm drinks, resting, sleeping in
  • For chronic stress, stress management, relaxation techniques

Sudden chills or chills with fatigue; cold, pale hands and feet; possibly chills

Root cause:

  • Fever starting or rising

Measure:

  • The same day to the doctor if you have no explanation for the fever, the fever rises above 40 ° C or lasts for more than 3 days

Increased Sensitivity to cold in old or underweight people

Root cause:

  • Increased need for warmth in old age
  • Underweight, malnutrition, e.g. B. as part of a diet or anorexia

Self help:

  • Eat enough, exercise regularly
  • Put on warmer clothes, use socks or heat pillows to fall asleep

Common Sensation of coldness in hands and feet, possibly tendency to shiver; often persistent tiredness, lack of drive; possibly recurring headaches, palpitations, ringing in the ears, dizziness

Root cause:

Measure:

  • In the next few weeks to the family doctor if the symptoms reappear

Self help:

  • Regular exercise
  • Alternating showers
  • Drink a lot, eat small, salty meals

Increased Sensitivity to cold with persistent fatigue and lack of energy; Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain; Brown discoloration of the skin (hyperpigmentation)

Root cause:

Activities:

  • In the next few days to the family doctor

Increased Sensitivity to cold with persistent fatigue and slowdown; Swelling of the face and tongue, dry skin; often overweight

Root cause:

Activities:

  • In the next few days to the family doctor

Increased Sensitivity to cold with persistent fatigue; Decrease in pubic hair; Reduction of breasts or testicles

Root cause:

Measure:

  • In the next few weeks to the family doctor

Sudden freezing cold sweat and noticeably gray, cool skin; Tremors, restlessness, fear; possibly drowsiness up to unconsciousness

Root cause:

Shock, e.g. B. at

Measure:

First measure:

  • Immediately lie down flat, legs up

Sudden Freezing and cold sweats in known diabetes; Cravings, palpitations, tremors; possibly drowsiness up to unconsciousness

Root cause:

Measure:

  • Call an emergency doctor if you lose consciousness

First measure:

  • If you are conscious, pour in dissolved glucose, soft drink or fruit juice

Seizure-like Feeling of coldness and numbness with sharply defined whiteness of fingers and / or toes; mostly triggered by stress or cold; Seizure duration a few minutes

Root cause:

Measure:

  • In the next few weeks to the family doctor

Self help:

  • In the event of a seizure, massage your hands, move them, put them under the armpits or hold them in warm running water

Feeling cold and pain in one or both legs when walking for a long time, possibly also lying down; pale skin and possibly numbness on the affected leg; possibly open spots on the foot or lower leg

Root cause:

  • Peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAD)

Measure:

  • In the next few days to the family doctor if the symptoms reappear

Self help:

  • Good shoes
  • Raising the headboard on the bed if you feel cold at night
  • Absolutely no smoking

Sudden feeling of cold and tightness in the calf or whole leg; Increase in the circumference of the affected leg, possibly bluish shiny skin; Pain when walking and when coughing

Root cause:

Measure:

  • Immediately to the family doctor if there is also shortness of breath, otherwise on the same day

Self help:


Constant or recurring Feeling cold, pain, tingling, and / or numbness; mostly stocking-shaped expansion on the lower legs and feet

Root cause:

Measure:

  • In the next few days to the family doctor or neurologist if the symptoms reappear

Seizure-like Feeling cold in arms and / or legs when taking medication

Root cause:

  • Circulatory disorders, e.g. B. as a side effect of beta blockers, ergotamines for the treatment of migraines

Measure:

  • In the next few days to the family doctor if you find the symptoms as a side effect on the package insert of a prescribed medication

Your pharmacy recommends

Stimulate the circulation.

If insufficient blood circulation in the skin is the trigger for increased sensitivity to cold, it helps to get the circulation going. Regular exercise, v. a. With sweating, in the fresh air and with changing temperatures, complaints in everyday life often disappear. Sauna visits, Kneipp baths or vigorous massages (e.g. with rosemary oil) increase blood circulation throughout the body.

Diets and fasting cures lead to constant freezing in many people - simply because their metabolism switches to "saving energy". In this case, normalizing the amount of calories is the right measure. If the goal is to lose weight, it should be done very slowly with no more than 500 g weight loss per week.

Alcohol consumption.

Alcoholic drinks lead to feelings of warmth for a short time, but to severe freezing in the hours afterwards - so no idea to make the circulation resistant to cold.

If you are cold and come back into the warmth, hot drinks or soups are the means of choice. They warm from the inside, and reflexively, the blood vessels of the skin expand again within a few minutes.

Reduce heat loss.

Dressing properly doesn't just mean wearing a thick sweater in winter. It is also important to pack thickly those parts of the body through which a lot of heat is lost. In addition to the head, these are all parts of the body that have little blood flow, e.g. B. fingers, toes, ears. Warm socks and gloves will help prevent your hands and feet from getting too cold. A warming hat prevents excessive heat from being emitted over the head and ears.

Get enough sleep and relaxation.

Constant shivering is often a sign of fatigue and exhaustion. This is because an exhausted body regulates temperature less well than a relaxed one. When stressed, the blood vessels constrict, so that the skin, nose, ears, fingers and toes are less well supplied with blood and heat. By the way: those who have cold feet have been shown to sleep worse.

Relaxation techniques such as meditation and progressive muscle relaxation help against chronic stress and exhaustion. Yoga is also good because it improves muscle tension and relaxation. Courses on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR = mindfulness-based stress reduction) are particularly effective for chronic stress. In many cases, the health insurance companies cover a portion of the course costs.

Authors

Dr. med. Arne Schäffler; Dr. med. Brigitte Strasser-Vogel; in: Gesundheit heute, edited by Dr. med. Arne Schäffler. Trias, Stuttgart, 3rd edition (2014). Editing: Sara Steer | last changed on at 09:00


Important note: This article has been written according to scientific standards and has been checked by medical professionals. The information communicated in this article can in no way replace professional advice in your pharmacy. The content cannot and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start therapy.