Depending on where you live, cold feet are a common occurrence during the winter months. However, patients with Raynaud's syndrome can experience numbness or cold in their feet at any time of year. If your feet quickly go from warm to freezing after exposure to the cold, in stressful situations, or during a sharp increase in physical activity, you may be suffering from Raynaud's syndrome. Because October is Raynaud’s Awareness Month, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing more information regarding this disease.
What Is Raynaud's Syndrome?
Raynaud's syndrome is a condition that causes the blood vessels to tighten, limiting blood flow to the extremities. The episodes are often brought on by emotional or physical stress, such as walking long distances or plunging into cold water.
When the blood vessels contract, the feet become numb, cold, and painful. The skin may change in color to blue or white. When the attack begins to diminish, patients may experience pins and needles in their lower extremities as the blood vessels begin to open up again.
In most cases, Raynaud’s syndrome does not cause permanent damage. But it may elevate the risk of foot ulcers in some patients, especially those with diabetes. Compromised circulation prevents the skin from healing, causing sores on the feet or infection in the toes. If left untreated, loss of a toe, amputation of the foot, or gangrene could result.
Treatments for Raynaud's Disease
If you are experiencing the symptoms of Raynaud's, we can help you control and prevent flare-ups:
- Uncovering an undiagnosed condition. Finding the probable cause of your Raynaud's allows you to treat the condition instead of just focusing on its symptoms.
- Maintain your body temperature. In the winter, dress warmly in multiple layers, including thick socks and gloves to protect your extremities. You want to wear socks when in bed to keep your body temperature constant as your sleep.
- Create an exercise regimen. An exercise routine is one of the best ways to enhance circulation, forcing your blood to your extremities before traveling back to the heart.
- Explore dietary changes. Some chemicals and food that restrict blood vessels can have unfavorable effects on Raynaud's patients. Alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine could trigger a Raynaud's attack.
- Examine medication choices. Some patients get relief from prescription drugs designed to help control Raynaud's symptoms and treat their underlying illnesses or diseases.
- At-home self-care treatments. Boosting blood flow to the feet through moisturizing the feet, wiggling the toes, massage, and other daily habits can help keep symptoms away.
We can diagnose what is causing your cold feet and pinpoint any problems that could trigger an attack or worsen your condition. Contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, to schedule a consultation. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.