Cold toes or fingers? Could it be Raynaud’s?

Cold toes - Raynaud's

February is Raynaud’s Awareness month

Symptoms of Raynaud’s

  • Cold fingers and toes?
  • Colour changes in your skin in response to changes in temperature or stress?
  • Colour changes from white, to blue/purple and then red?
  • Numbness, tingling or pain in the affected area?
  • Stinging or throbbing pain upon warming or stress relief

Millions of people suffer from a feeling of extreme coldness in the fingers and toes. 1 in 6 of the UK population are affected, with the majority being women.

Symptoms can be very uncomfortable, extending throughout winter and in some cases, also into the summer months.

Raynaud’s, which is pronounced <ray-nose>, is also referred to as Raynaud’s syndrome or Raynaud’s phenomenon. The term disease is no longer used.

It affects the bodily extremities, most commonly the hands and feet.

Upon exposure to cold or stress, the blood vessels at the extremities constrict, restricting the flow of blood. This is called vasoconstriction. When this happens in the feet and hands, toes and fingers will often be seen to change colour, becoming very pale as less blood reaches the surface of the skin. The reduction of warm blood flowing through these areas results in less radiation of heat from the affected area.

Test for Raynaud’s

If you feel these symptoms here is a test: press on your toes, fingers, legs or anywhere that feels like your skin is too cold or numb. If your skin turns white and takes a while to bring back its colour, then that’s one way of telling you might be experiencing this phenomenon.

This happens when your blood vessels are constricted (tight) and don’t let enough blood pass through to warm up that area.  Its causes discolouration and in severe cases it can start to deteriorate the the tissues.

During an attack of Raynaud’s, affected areas of your skin usually first turn white. Then, the affected areas often turn blue and feel cold and numb.

As you warm and circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell. The order of the colour changes isn’t the same for everyone, and not everyone experiences all colours.

You know when you come in from the cold and your fingers and toes are so cold that the numbness gets a little warm and the warmth feels like daggers and pins? This is another indication of Raynaud’s phenomenon.

What can help relieve the symptoms of Raynaud’s?

  • exercise – it will help with blood circulation to your extremities
  • wear layers with warm socks, long pants and sleeves
  • wear slippers in the house
  • reduce smoking
  • reduce caffeine intake
  • get some good thermal gloves

Visit your Foot Healthcare Professional on a regular basis at We Fix Feet.  We will be able to assess your feet and skin, advising you on how to reduce painful symptoms.

Enquire about our Prendé Warm Wax Therapy as it’s a great way to warm up your hands and feet whilst also deep moisturising your skin. Moisturising your skin is very important to keep all skin tissues from weakening and drying. Dry hands and feet can hurt even more and crack deeper in the cold. For everyday skin moisturising, we recommend Flexitol Moisturising Foot Cream – it’s great for feet, legs, as well as hands!

For further information on Raynaud’s Awareness Month, visit Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK

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