Do you often have cold hands and feet? Do you wear 2 pairs of socks and sleep with socks on as well? You can end with the cold sensation in your hands and arms! In this article we will try to explain how.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE?
As always, the base is to find out the cause, and why is it happening. Let’s try to find out the original problem of the cold feet and hands. It is often said that the reason is result of insufficient blood supply and thus many products which supposedly can help you are being recommended. But there is only half truth in that, and you will quickly learn the ineffectivity of these products. The truth is, that the blood flow is weaker in the more distant areas from the heart. Why is it so? Similarly to other system, even the circulatory system is under control of the nervous system, which functions independently from our will, and it called autonomic nervous system. It is responsible for all the processes in the organism and keeps going other functions such as digestion, it causes us to sweat during stress, or blush. It also affects smaller blood vessels which shrink or widen. On the surface of our skin are nerve endings which function as receptors which percept various impulses. Based on the quality and quantity of the impulses, the nervous system evaluates adequate reaction to the outward impulses and adapts the corresponding structures. For example imagine a pin which stings you in a finger. It is painful.
The impulses which irritate the nerve endings and brain will evaluate that it would be better to pull your hand away. It will send signal that the muscles are irritated, which will result in muscle contraction, increased blood flow in the area, alternately even goose bumps. There is no reaction without action. If you will use product that stimulate increased blood flow, it will only stimulate the areas which are already sufficiently stimulated.
But let’s return to the feet. In modern times of concrete, we decided to put shoes on our feet and wear them throughout the whole day, and when we arrive home, we put on slippers. During night we wear socks, and in the morning we put shoes on again. Carpets have disappeared from our home along with thresholds in the doors. Without sufficient stimulation, our brain evaluates that there is no need to increase the blood supply. High heels, calluses, rough skin, all that contributes to lower stimulation and perception of our feet. Our foot has at the same time enormous quantity of nerve receptors, we are even born with grasping motion in our feet (vestigial grasp). When we don’t develop these abilities, the function dies, and the foot adapts to the resting/leaning function. To that is connected the risk of forming flat foot, in cases there is no stimulation and requirements.
For starters, take your shoes off at home. Put your socks away during night. Easy recipe for warm feet is a cold shower. If you have heard about “hardening” with cold water, don’t be afraid to try it out. After taking a shower, shower your feet with cold water, but rather start gradually. You can rub your feet against each other. Don’t turn of the water until your feet are completely red. After this refreshment, dry up your feet. Coldwater will cause shrinking of the blood vessels, which will automatically widen after the stimulation with cold water, and sufficiently supply your feet with blood. After regular hardening, the blood vessel system will be trained and improve the blood supply.
HOW TO DEAL WITH IT?
Realize your feet and toes. Try to move them - bending and stretching them, bending them in the metatarsal bones and stretching them apart each other. You can’t do it? Toes don’t have to move in a shoe, therefore their mobility is decreasing, until it’s completely vanished. Where is no movement. There is no mobility. And where is no mobility there is no blood supply. Same way the toes are important during walking, when the foot is pushing the body forward.
Caress your feet! Not only is it pleasant, but you will also increase the stimulation, and affect the nervous system, you will normalize the muscle tension and it is also wonderful psychological relaxation. Therefore be open to caressing, rubbing, and even tickling. You can extend and flex your toes, by which you will release the tension in the feet.
Read more about reflexive therapy of the foot soles.
Don’t be afraid to walk outside barefooted! It’s best if you have a different variety of surface you can walk on. On a hard asphalt, grass, mud, gravel, in a creek… even such can be your walk. Be careful for injuries, if your feet are not used to these surfaces, you will easily injure them. Therefore choose the terrains reasonably, and gradually increase the demands. The sensitivity of the foot to an uneven surface will gradually be gone. Notice the difference of the feet function in the shoe and barefoot. Suddenly you feel everything, the foot works with every step and is stimulated. You will never have cold feet again!
We can’t often walk barefoot to work. If you have a sitting job, you can take of your shoes under the desk. And if you don’t have this option? Choose a correct shoe, where your toes have plenty of room to move, alternately you can wear slippers. Sometimes we just have to be whole day in shoes, then it becomes ideal to compensate the lack of mobility, with methods mentioned above.
Read also article about interesting topic: “barefoot running” and how to run correctly.
And when you wear socks, then you can wear toe socks, the fabric between the toes increases the friction and stimulates the skin receptors, which wouldn’t be otherwise irritated.
Other option is wearing special shoes, which almost completely keep the sensation of walking barefoot. It has a thin outsole so you can feel everything you step on, and at the same time it protects your skin from injury. The feet can work naturally, absorb the stimuli and keep its own thermoregulation.
It doesn’t matter how or with which method will you stimulate your feet, important thing is to have some stimulation. If you start to take more care of your feet, the feeling of cold feet will gradually completely disappear. And not only that, don’t hesitate to find out about more positives which flow from walking barefoot.
Author: FYZIOklinika physiotherapy Ltd., Prague, Czech Republic