We’ve all heard the term cold feet to describe last-minute nerves. But cold and sweaty feet are a whole other ballgame.
Cold and sweaty feet can signal a common problem you can work on. Alternatively, they may indicate a more troubling medical condition that needs your attention. The most important thing to do is visit your family doctor or foot specialist when the problem becomes recurring.
Let’s take a look at some causes of cold and sweaty feet, and what you can do about them.
Causes of Cold and Sweaty Feet
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
- Overactive thyroid
- Raynaud’s disease
This is essentially a term for excessive sweating, which can simultaneously cause cold feet. Many people clue into this condition if they experience sweaty feet without exercising or being in the heat.
Primary focal (essential) hyperhidrosis is the most common form and isn’t a sign of an underlying medical condition. It occurs when the nerves in your body send too many signals to sweat glands. While embarrassing at times, it is certainly manageable. Secondary hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, is always associated with another medical condition.
- Foot deodorants, creams and sprays.
- Antidepressants can lower triggers like stress and anxiety, which cause you to sweat more.
- Nerve-blocking medications.
- Daily foot hygiene practices: keeping feet clean and dry, regularly changing socks, etc.
- Airing out your feet.
- Breathable footwear.
- Moisture-wicking socks.
- Regular foot assessments to check for conditions that thrive in moist environments, like athlete’s foot.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
PAD is a serious condition that affects the body’s lower extremities. Due to fatty plaque buildup, the blood vessels that transport between the heart and the legs become totally blocked or severely narrowed. Risk factors may include diabetes, being over 60 years of age and having high blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Medications called statins, which lower cholesterol.
- Blood pressure medications.
- Medications that increase blood flow in the legs.
- Living a heart-healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular exercise.
One of the most common culprits of cold and sweaty feet in older women is menopause. Due to hormonal imbalances, blood vessels expand and increase the level of blood flow in the body during this point in a woman’s life, triggering night sweats. But hormonal changes can also slow blood circulation, quickly affecting the feet. Cold, sweaty feet can also contribute to insomnia in menopausal women.
- Estrogen therapy
- Eating a healthy diet low in sugar and salt.
- Low-intensity exercise.
- Monitoring stress levels.
- Getting enough vitamin D.
- Regular foot assessments to check for other symptoms, like foot swelling.
A thyroid disorder can cause plantar hyperhidrosis (excessive foot sweat) while also deregulating body temperature. An overactive thyroid also messes with our blood circulation, giving the feet and skin only a quarter of the blood supply they usually need. You should inquire with your family doctor about a thyroid condition if your feet are always cold and you’ve ruled out other causes.
- Medications called thionamides.
- Surgical intervention.
Raynaud’s disease causes both cold hands and feet, as well as numb toes. Furthermore, Raynaud’s can occur in its primary form or as an accompaniment to another disease, like lupus or Rheumatoid arthritis. Like many other cold feet causes, it decreases blood flow in certain body parts. This is due to blood vessels spasming in the affected areas.
- Calcium channel blockers can open the small blood vessels in the feet.
- Wearing socks indoors.
- Vasodilators, which relax blood vessels.
- Severe cases may require surgery.
Additional Causes of Cold and Sweaty Feet
- Anxiety disorders: Known to cause hyperhidrosis, severe stress and panic disorders can make you feel clammy and uncomfortable.
- Exercise: An obvious cause of sweaty feet is regular physical activity. It’s essential to keep on top of routine foot care if fitness is causing your sweaty feet.
- Wearing small shoes: Sometimes sweat can’t evaporate if our shoes don’t fit properly.
- Neuropathy: Nerve damage, common in diabetes patients, is known to cause excessive sweating and can disrupt regular body temperature