What Can I Do About My Cold Feet?

What Can I Do About My Cold Feet?
I have an ongoing concern: My feet are cold all of the time!

The temperature outdoors can be 90 degrees, yet my feet still will be ice-cold. They are not always cold to the touch, but they feel cold to me. This is most likely due to poor circulation caused by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT).

My poor feet never seem to warm up. I have warm boots and socks, but they never keep my toes toasty. And who wants to wear thick socks and Uggs in the summer? There has to be a better way. Currently, I am on the hunt for ways to keep my toes and feet warm.

According to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, people with CMT should not use hot water bottles or heating pads. This may be due to decreased sensation in the feet. The association suggests warm boots, but what should I do at bedtime? My feet feel like they are freezing at night. I always sleep with a pair of socks on, but they still feel cold. I truly hate this.

I have tried thermal socks, which are supposed to be warmer than cotton socks, but it didn’t work. Then, I tried fuzzy microfiber socks, but they weren’t warm enough for my icicles. Someone suggested layering thermal socks under the fuzzy socks. It sounded like a good idea, but nope, still cold! I have tried layering hiking socks with wool socks that my mom knitted for me. Still no relief.

Other ideas I came across:

  • Soak your feet in warm water for about 20 minutes.
  • Drink plenty of water, which helps to increase the blood flow.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Use a heated mattress pad.
  • Get a spicy foot massage. (Would that work with diminished feeling in my feet?)

I know that with CMT I need to be careful with extremes, such as using heating pads and hot water bottles or soaking my feet in hot water. I already drink a lot of water and do not smoke. I wonder what else I can do to warm my poor feet.

I also read that cold feet at bedtime can affect your sleep. The body must work harder to warm them, which affects overall body temperature. Warming up your feet causes vasodilation, or the dilatation of the blood vessels. This may signal to your brain that it is bedtime. Hmm. Maybe if I can warm my feet, I can fall asleep more easily? According to Sleep.org, if you warm your feet and hands, you can fall asleep faster. They suggest placing extra blankets only on the feet, along with cashmere socks and plush slippers. Perhaps I should try cashmere socks since I already have extra blankets on my bed and warm fuzzy slippers.

Do you suffer from cold feet and toes? What are some of the ways you keep your feet warm? I would love additional ideas, because I hate to be cold.

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Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

6 comments

  1. Gustav Lundström says:

    Hi,
    Do not suffer from CMT myself but my wife has tremendous help by exercising ancient Chinese Qigong. She says it helps the internal “flow” in her body. By flow I think she means more than just the blood but never the less, I can clearly feel how much warmer she is on her hands and feet after exercising.
    Her latest trick is to stand on a 1ft* 1ft board which is tilted in such way her toes are higher then her heels. Just standing there for 5-10 minutes “doing nothing” and her hands and feet turns almost hot. It’s magic. They certainly know what they did in China some 2000 years ago.

  2. Madeleine says:

    I was having trouble falling asleep due to cold hands AND feet until I found these adorable little bean bag animals called Warmies (R) that can be warmed in the microwave. Now, I wrap both hands around my warm, furry dog, and I am asleep in no time. Obviously, you should not overheat but once you find the sweet spot, it stays warm for a while.

  3. Barry Price says:

    I am 69 with cmt1a, living in North Idaho. My cold feet are helped by a warm house; the woodstove is best with propane heat back-up.
    After years of suffering I realized my lower legs were cold, so I searched for leg warmers. My best version is knitted wool that goes from knee to ankle. This makes my feet warmer–go figure.
    If I go to bed with cold feet it takes too long to warm up. But, if my feet are warm they do not cool under the covers (bedroom must not be too cold).
    I also use an electric mat under my computer desk. In-floor radiant heat would be best all around solution, but that is rare.
    In the summer I do wear shoes and socks.

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