Winter is here, and holding our Northwest area firmly in its grip. Most of us are piling on blankets, wearing plenty of layers, and taking other steps to keep comfortable in the colder winter months. Yet, many folks struggle to keep their feet warm. Because January is Thyroid Awareness Month, Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, is sharing information regarding how your cold feet may be a sign of a thyroid problem.
We find that most of our patients enjoy the winter, particularly during the holidays. People who hit the ski slopes and participate in other outdoor activities prefer the cold season. For others, however, the colder weather brings with it unique challenges. They can’t get their feet warm enough, so each year, they suffer until warmer conditions arrive.
Can’t get your feet warm no matter what you do?
Because your extremities – your hands and your feet – are the farthest away from your heart, it can be challenging for the heart to pump enough blood to those areas to keep them warm. This issue is worsened by disorders that affect circulation, including diabetes and peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Your toes and feet feel cold more quickly and more intensely than the other parts of your body. Skin can dry, and heels can crack. Typically, this is easy to manage by wearing warm, woolen socks and insulated footwear.
Once you've come in from outside, soaking your feet in warm water can also help.
But what if your feet won't get warm, despite taking necessary precautions? Suppose your feet are still cold even when you turn up the heat or if you still feel cold after the spring thaw. This can be a symptom of a deeper issue and a sign of hypothyroidism.
What is the thyroid? What does it do?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your throat that gives you daily energy, regulates your immune system, and keeps your body warm. If the thyroid is functioning correctly, you may not even be aware of it.
In addition to cold hands and feet, when the thyroid is in an under-active state, you might experience symptoms, including:
- thinning hair
- cold fingers and toes
- dry skin
- unexplained weight gain
- muscle pain and aches
- joint stiffness and pain.
If you are unable to keep your feet warm, it’s time to contact Dr. Hubert Lee at CarePlus Foot & Ankle Specialists in Bellevue, WA, for a thorough exam and a diagnosis. You can easily schedule an appointment online or by calling us at 425-455-0936.