Compression socks have a wide range of uses and benefits. They can help treat certain medical conditions, help athletes recover faster and help those who stand or sit for long periods to avoid fatigue. Compression socks can also help treat cold feet. This is not just because they cover your feet, which does help trap warmth, but also because they can help treat the symptoms of conditions that can cause cold feet.
What conditions cause cold feet?
There are several conditions that can contribute to cold feet, most of which can be helped with compression socks. Cold feet are often caused by poor circulation, which prevents warm blood from running through the feet. There are several conditions that can cause cold feet that may see relief from symptoms with the use of compression socks.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused by a buildup of fat in the arteries. This can slow blood flow from the heart to the limbs. PAD patients often feel cold in their hands and feet because not enough warm blood flows to these areas. PAD can also cause sores and ulcers in the feet to not be able to heal, causing further health complications if they become infected.
Raynaud's disease, also known as Raynaud's phenomenon, causes spasms in blood vessels in the extremities. Cold conditions, stress and extreme emotions can cause symptoms to flare up. Raynaud's often causes discomfort and coldness in the fingers and toes, turning them white and sometimes even blue due to lack of blood flow. Since Raynaud's symptoms are triggered by cold and can cause the affected areas to feel even colder, one important step for treating Raynaud's is keeping hands and feet warm whenever possible.
Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur in the peripheral parts of the nervous system (outside of the brain and spinal cord). Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a range of conditions and is often seen in diabetic patients as a result of chronically high blood pressure. Neuropathy has a host of associated symptoms, including muscle weakness, sensory loss, numbness, pain, tingling and burning sensations. Patients with peripheral neuropathy often feel as if their feet are cold, even though their feet may not be cold to the touch. This is a symptom of nerve damage, as the damage can block nerve signals that relay temperature.
Some people tend to be more genetically predisposed to experience issues with staying warm. While this may not necessarily be caused by a medical condition, it can still be unpleasant to experience. It is not well known exactly how genetics play into the body's ability to stay warm in the absence of other medical conditions, but research is currently being done to study this.
How do compression socks help cold feet?
There are several ways compression socks can help keep cold feet warm, regardless of the cause. Compression socks can keep your feet warm and increase blood circulation to the feet, assisting you in staying warm.
Warming the Skin
Like regular socks, compression socks work to help keep you warm by trapping body heat. Wearing thick socks is a great way to quickly warm feet during the winter, but regular socks do not address the underlying issues that may be contributing to cold feet.
Helping Blood Circulation
Poor blood circulation caused by conditions such as peripheral arterial disease and Raynaud's phenomenon can cause cold feet and hands due to a lack of warm blood reaching the extremities. Compression socks can help warm the feet by improving blood circulation.
Healing and Preventing Ulcers and Sores
Ulcers and sores are present in patients with peripheral arterial disease and peripheral neuropathy. Compression socks have been shown to help heal and prevent venous ulcers that are sometimes seen in both conditions. Compression socks also have the added benefit of protecting your feet from additional injuries, such as blisters and sores caused by shoes.