ZocdocAnswersWhat causes hands of feet to always be cold?

Question

What causes hands of feet to always be cold?

Why are my hands and feet ALWAYS cold? It seems like the only thing that offers any relief is either A) taking a long bath or B) going on a run. But I don't even live in a cold climate, so I feel like the problem is actually in my hands and feet.

Answer

Having cold hands and feet is a relatively common medical problem. It is related to the tone in the small blood vessels in your hands and feet, which in some people tend to be relatively constricted, leading to lower blood flow and the sensation of coolness. In more pronounced cases, this problem is called Raynaud's phenomenon. Specifically Raynaud's phenomenon refers to episodes in which the hands or feet turn white and pale with blood vessel constriction followed by the evolution of a bluish color as blood oxygen is used up, finally a bright red color emerges when the vessels open up again. Raynaud's phenomenon can feel just cool or it can actually be painful at times. Usually Raynaud's phenomenon is an isolated finding. However, sometimes it can be associated with an underlying connective tissue disorder. You would need to seek medical advice from your primary care doctor if the condition is debilitating, or if you notice sores on your hands or feet. Also you should be concerned if you have tightness of the skin of the hands or face, stiffness of the joints, or if you have trouble swallowing or shortness of breath, as these findings are more likely to indicate an underlying problem.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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