Cold feet can have various causes. They occur particularly often in women.

Cold Feet are commonly healthy (physiological) Body reactions to cold. At a Drop in outside temperature the body wants its Maintain core body temperature, to the vital body functions or organs, such as the brain, the heart, the lung and the Abdominal organs to supply sufficient warm blood. As part of this so-called Centralization of the blood The body first draws the warm blood from the fingers and toes, the so-called acra. For the blood to move smoothly, the body needs the Constrict blood vessels on the acra (Vasoconstriction). In this way the blood flow rate of warm blood decreases and the outermost limbs cool. The consequence are now cold hands and feet.

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This rapid cooling and freezing on the feet is caused by wet skin, sweaty feet and tight shoes and the resulting cooling by evaporation many times over accelerated.

However, feet can get cold also characters (symptom) some serious illnesses and should be and should be in the event of disproportionate cold or wet conditions and the opposite measures such as thick socks and thermal insoles be medically clarified.


In healthy people, cold feet (physiologically) are caused by a Narrowing of the blood vessels as a result of a cold stimulus from the outside. The warming blood is now transported to the middle of the body in order to prevent a drop in the core body temperature and a slowing down of vital body functions.

The The saying "get cold feet" deals with the very fact that a person pretends to be unable to endure the cold, uncomfortable ground any longer in order to remove himself from an uncomfortable situation. Also, through Stress and fear as a result of distributed Stress hormones the Narrow vessels of the feet (constricted), so that the blood circulation decreases and cold feet are the result.

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Behind cold feet can also diseases, such as Circulatory disorders of the legs or feet stand (peripheral arterial disease). These circulatory disorders are often caused by Vascular calcifications of the leg and foot vessels (arteriosclerosis) following an existing High blood pressure (arterial hypertension), as well as diabetes (Diabetes mellitus) or nicotine and, since this also happens in other places in the vascular system, are also with serious dangers such as one Heart attack (Myocardial infarction) or stroke (Apoplexy) socialized.

Also can a low blood pressure (Hypotension), a Lack of oxygenated red blood cells (anemia), such as Heart disease impair the blood circulation in the feet.

Furthermore, hormonal disorders such as the Hypothyroidism (Hypothyroidism), Immune system diseases or the so-called Raynaud's Syndrome, a vascular disease that restrict blood flow to extremities.

In addition, in the event of a long-term and unnatural (pathological) occurrence of cold feet, taking vasoconstricting drugs be causative.

Cold feet at night

Cold feet can do one common cause of difficulty falling asleep be.

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The Core body temperaturewhich usually occurs in an adult at rest at about 36-37 ° C should be at the optimal Fall asleep about 0.5 ° C below the value during the day. However, in order to allow the core body temperature to cool down slightly, the blood must get from the center of the body to the periphery of the hands and feet. However, this is not possible in the case of vascular constrictions in the outermost limbs such as the feet and toes and the heat cannot be released to the outside. It is now difficult to fall asleep.

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In order to find out whether behind the cold feet there is a normal (physiological) body reaction to a cold stimulus, wetness or shoes that are too tight or a reaction with a disease value, the development of the cold feet should first be observed. Here it is important to find out in what situations the cold feet occur and whether the reaction is normal (physiological). For example would be ice-cold feet while wearing woolen socks and thermal insoles an unphysiological body reaction in temperate climates, the followed up medically should be.

In addition, should Skin changes, such as Color changes or non-healing wounds just like Pain, cramps or at high fever a doctor to be visited.

The doctor can now, after one detailed survey about the complaints, as well as possibly existing pre-existing illnesses and the use of vasoconstricting medication of the patient (anamnese), the so-called Measure the capillarization time. Here the Fingernail or Toenail of the patient slightly pressedso that blood flow stops and the area becomes pale. Then the Pressure is released and the time to become rosy is determinedwhich physiological way 2 seconds should not exceed.

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Furthermore, the Foot circulation through palpation (Palpate) the foot pulse as well as the pulses in the knee and hip area (strength, character, regularity) can be easily checked.

Using the Ankle-arm index (ABI) can be done with the help of a so-called Doppler-Ultrasonic and one Blood pressure measurement the Severity of any existing arterial vascular disease (PAOD) be determined.

Furthermore, the general one Blood pressure measurement an important diagnostic criterion for a low blood pressure (Hypotension) capture.

Also play hormonal examinations, for example collecting the Thyroid levels, a crucial role in finding the cause of the long-term and disproportionately severe persistence of cold feet.

Cold feet in babies

Through the relatively large body surface in relation to body weight, babies often experience one faster cooling and Hypothermia than in the adult. In order to supply the vital organs adequately and efficiently, the blood flow to the outermost limbs is reduced, with subsequent cooling of the extremities. Furthermore, babies must first Get used to the colder temperatures outside the womb.

Cold feet in women

The cause of the more frequent freezing and the development of cold feet in women is that, on average, women have a significantly higher level than men lower percentage of muscle mass have. Muscles to lead through their movement to generate heat. Since the vital organs of the body should be supplied with warm blood as well as possible and the core body temperature of 36-37 ° C should be maintained, the peripheral vessels are narrowed and cold hands, feet, ears and the nose develop.

Symptoms and complications

Usually should have cold feet no pain prepare, but only to be perceived as something unpleasant.

Having cold feet that are accompanied by pain often a disease value and should therefore clarified become.

Should it very suddenly to cold feet, as well blue or white discoloration, pain, or swelling come, it is advisable if possible to see a doctor or clinic quickly, as it may be a blood clot occluded in a leg vessel (thrombosis) who can act quickly treated must be used to prevent serious complications.

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At a fever (Pyrexia), which is a body reaction to many different causes, there is a Increase in core body temperature. This increase results from an adjustment to the increased setpoint temperature. This body's own regulatory mechanism is controlled by the Hypothalamus, part of the brain. An increased body temperature increases the activity of the immune cells.

Cold feet occur with a fever through centralization of the blood, which leads to the desired adjustment of the body temperature to the setpoint temperature.

The body tries to increase its overall temperature by doing the Vessels in the hands and feet narrowed (peripheral vasoconstriction) and reduces heat loss to the environment here.

In a fever situation, cold feet and hands are therefore often a problem Signs of a further rise in fever.


The development of cystitis (Urinary tract infections) can be favored by cold feet. The reason for this is the general hypothermia / cold that can be caused by cold feet. The body now has to work harder to ensure good blood flow to organs.

Furthermore, the peripheral blood vessels constrict and the metabolism slows down when it is cold. The result is ineffective work of the body's own defense cells against germs such as bacteria, viruses or fungi. These germs can spread better in the organism and ultimately lead to cystitis due to poorer blood circulation in the bladder.

Please also read: Cystitis from cold feet


The Treatment of a possibly existing underlying disease (e.g. diabetes mellitus, PAD, Raynaud's syndrome, hypotension) plays one important role in the therapy of cold feet. Often, suitable therapeutic measures and the Quitting smoking a circulatory disorder can be improved to such an extent that cold feet are a thing of the past.

It is recommended, regardless of whether the cold feet are caused by a disease or not, in cold temperatures warm socks such as solid shoes to wear. Also should wet and sweaty feet are avoided, in which the feet should be dried well and sweaty, wet socks should be changed as soon as possible.

Warm foot baths can warm up the whole body and expand the vessels in the feet due to the high temperatures, so that a lot of blood can flow through the feet and thus warms up.


To prevent cold feet, we recommend a good vascular system exercise to operate. Which includes Alternating baths as well as regular Sauna sessions. In addition, the feet and toes should be moved frequently and possibly massaged to stimulate blood circulation.

Furthermore, the Shoes not too small or too tight otherwise the warming air, which acts as an insulating layer between the shoe and the foot, cannot arise.

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Warming drinks like teas, soups and stews, but also spicy ones Spices such as chili, pepper or ginger have a circulation-promoting effect, whereas coffee, salads or carbonated and cold drinks tend to have a cooling effect.

A very important preventive step against cold feet and for the health of the whole organism, that is Quit smokingbecause the Vascular blood flow decreases sharply due to nicotine and in addition to cold feet also serious circulatory disorders are favored.

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