Combat cold hands and feet for good

Susannah Hickling 

Excessively cold fingers or toes could be caused by Raynaud's phenomenon. But help is at hand.


Do your fingers or toes go white and numb when the temperature gets even a little bit colder, and do they become very painful when they warm up again? If so, you could have Raynaud’s phenomenon, which affects up to ten million people in the UK, many of them women. It can be hereditary, yet most people don’t even realise that it’s a syndrome and never see a doctor.

So what is Raynaud’s? Well, you get those unpleasantly numb fingers and toes—and perhaps even ears and nose—when the blood supply to them is interrupted as the arteries go into spasm in response to cold. Stress and anxiety can play a part in this too.

You can do a lot to help yourself. See the tips below, but if Raynaud’s is making your life a misery, consult your GP. Medication is another option.

  1. Try to keep your body warm when it’s cold—especially your hands and feet with good gloves and warm footwear.
  2. Don’t smoke. It adversely affects your circulation.
  3. Minimise stress. Not easy in our fraught world, admittedly. But try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or yoga, and avoid stimulants such as coffee and cola.
  4. Get plenty of exercise. This will help combat stress and, importantly, improve the circulation.