You don’t have to stand in snow and ice to get cold feet. Many people experience “cold feet” when they make a big decision and doubt their choice. Other times cold feet are related to a medical condition. Problems with circulation can make toes feel much colder than normal. This is the case with Raynaud’s disease, which can leave your feet feeling icy and uncomfortable.
What Is Raynaud’s and How Did I Get It?
Raynaud’s disease is an unusual problem with your blood vessels. It causes spasms in your arteries in response to certain triggers, so they suddenly tighten and restrict blood flow to your extremities. Typically a rapid drop in temperature around your feet or being under high stress levels are the culprits.
No one is exactly sure what causes Raynaud’s to start in the first place. It isn’t an infection or contagious problem. In fact, the primary form of it isn’t associated with any underlying condition. The less common, secondary form of the disease, however, is a result of some other issue. Artery disease, connective tissue conditions, injuries, smoking, and even extreme overuse could trigger secondary Raynaud’s.
How Does It Affect My Feet?
When you trigger a Raynaud’s attack, the first and most noticeable symptom is cold feet. This is because you lose a lot of the blood flow to your feet for a limited period of time. The skin on your feet, particularly your toes, may appear white and colorless. They may feel numb and cold to the touch as well. The longer the attack lasts, your toes may turn blue. Once the blood flow returns to your digits, they usually throb, ache, and appear to turn red.
Can Anything Help?
With a little time and quick care, you can reverse a Raynaud’s attack and restore the blood flow to your feet and toes. Preventing serious tissue damage and effects from any underlying issues, however, means diagnosing and taking care of the problem. Our experts at Advance Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona will uses tests to identify the Raynaud’s disease, then look for any underlying conditions that may be affecting it. Then we can help you manage it.
Secondary Raynaud’s will need targeted treatment for whatever disease triggered the circulation problem. Primary Raynaud’s has multiple ways you can manage it. The first is to be proactive when you have an attack. Take steps to warm up your toes by leaving cold areas or running warm water over your feet. Do your best to relax and lower your stress as well. Between attacks, exercise and boost your circulation. Avoid suddenly exposing your feet to cold air. Eliminate any smoking, too, including exposure to second hand smoke. In some cases you may need medication to manage your circulation better.
Raynaud’s disease can be uncomfortable and potentially contribute to other complications in the lower limbs, but it doesn’t have to limit you or your activities. The right care can keep your feet feeling warm and acting fine. Don’t let the problem get worse—take care of it early on. Our team at Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona is happy to help you. Use the website, or call or fax us: dial (480) 963-9000 and fax (480) 963-0375 for the office in Chandler; dial (480) 981-1800 and fax (480) 981-0229 for the office in Gilbert.