Neuropathy and Cold Feet Mean More than Winter’s Chill
By Dr. Jeffery Fredrick
February 11, 2014
Category: Diabetes
Tags: diabetes   cold feet   neuropathy   limb   cold  

Thermometer

What a winter—several icy “polar vortexes” have gripped the Midwest and dumped buckets of snow in some areas. The wind dropped already low temperatures—the single digits and below—to dangerously cold negative temps. Still, as cold as it is in Berkley, we haven’t had it quite as badly as further west. Minnesota and the Dakotas saw wind chill temperatures down to -40 and -50 degrees Fahrenheit. With harsh weather like this, no one is surprised when your feet are cold. If you struggle with diabetes, however, neuropathy could be making the chill worse.

Neuropathy damages the nerves to your lower limbs, so your feet aren’t able to interpret temperature as accurately. This can cause them to feel cold all the time, even when you’re warm and toasty in your home. This is more than an inconvenience. Nerve damage isn’t reversible. It can allow your foot to sustain injuries without you noticing before complications develop. Fortunately, neuropathy can be monitored and the symptoms managed.

Try to keep your feet warm throughout the day. Wear thick, fitted socks made from natural materials. Keep your shoes on to protect your feet as well. Moderate, regular exercise increases lower limb blood flow, which will help your feet warm up. Don’t soak in hot water or use a direct heating pad or water bottle to warm your feet quickly, though. You could accidentally burn your skin. Instead, use a topical cream with a warming agent like capsaicin in it.

If you have diabetes and struggle with cold feet, have your lower limbs examined by professionals like those here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle. Our expert staff can help you protect yourself from cold and neuropathy-related injuries. Don’t wait and allow your feet to develop painful complications. Instead, contact us by calling (248) 545-0100 or by visiting our online contact page.

Photo credit: bulldogza via freedigitalphotos.net

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