Winter has arrived and is holding the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions tightly in its icy grip. We’re all wearing plenty of layers, piling on blankets, and taking a variety of other steps to stay comfortable in the cold months. Most people enjoy the winter, at least through the holidays. Skiers and others who enjoy outdoor activities, even prefer the season. For a minority though, the winter presents unique challenges. Nothing seems to keep their feet warm enough and each year, they suffer until spring.
Because your extremities – your feet and your hands – are farthest from your heart, it is difficult for your heart to pump enough blood there to keep them warm. This challenge is exacerbated by ailments that affect circulation, including peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and diabetes. Your feet and toes feel cold sooner and more intensely than other parts of your body. Skin can feel dry and heel cracks can form. Typically, this is easy enough to manage with insulated boots and warm, woolen socks. Soaking your feet in warm water when coming in from outside can also help.
But what if you can’t warm your feet up, despite taking precautions? What if your feet are still cold even when the heat’s turned up? What if you still feel cold after the spring thaw? This can be a symptom of a deeper issue. Cold feet can be a sign of hypothyroidism.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your throat that provides you with daily energy, keeps your body warm, and activates your immune system. If your thyroid were operating as it should, it would be invisible in your day to day life. You wouldn’t be aware of it at all. When the thyroid becomes underactive, in addition to cold feet and hands, you might experience symptoms including:
- unexplained weight gain
- dry skin
- muscle aches and pain
- joint pain and stiffness
- thinning hair
Are you living with cold feet that you just can’t keep warm? It’s time to see the foot doctor. James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS is a board-certified podiatrist, expert in diagnosing and treating all illnesses and injuries of the feet, ankles, and lower leg. Dr. McKee will examine your feet, accurately diagnose the source of your discomfort, determine the best course of action for moving forward, then provide excellent treatment and follow up care. Call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. today at 410-224-4448 or click here to schedule a convenient appointment in our comfortable office on Solomons Island Road in Annapolis, MD.