As the temperatures begin to drop, we at Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS get more patients coming in complaining of cold feet. Although it may be natural to brush this off as normal for the season, there are instances of cold toes indicating a medical problem. One of these is Raynaud’s Disease. People who have this disease have an overreaction to cold, causing their toes and fingers (and sometimes other parts of the body) to turn white, then blue and feel numb and cold. This is due to an overreaction or vasospasm of the arteries in the toes and fingers which can narrow the blood vessels and temporarily decrease blood flow. Below are some facts about Raynaud’s:
- Doctors don’t completely understand the reason why some people suffer Raynaud’s attacks. Sometimes Raynaud’s exists on its own but other times it is associated with another disorder such as arterial or connective tissue disease or Carpal tunnel syndrome. It can also occur as a result of the work you do (lots of repetitive stress to one area of the body) or medication.
- Raynaud’s affects women more often than men.
- It most often begins between the ages of 15 and 30.
- Raynaud’s is more common in people who live in colder climates.
- There does seem to be a genetic component—having a parent, sibling or child with the condition increases your chances of getting it also.
- For some patients Raynaud’s is also triggered by stress.
- There is no specific test for Raynaud’s. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and medical history. A blood test is sometimes ordered to see if you have any of the conditions that may be associated with Raynaud’s.
Treatment for Raynaud’s is primarily aimed at preventing attacks. Avoid plunging your hands into cold water and you may need to wear gloves to take things in and out of the freezer. When going outdoors, keep feet, hands and face bundled up. Warm up your car before getting in it. Wear socks to bed at night and avoid being directly in front of air conditioners.