What causes cold feet and hands? How Compression Socks Work for Poor Circulation in Feet

What causes cold feet and hands? How Compression Socks Work for Poor Circulation in Feet

Let's face it, there's nothing more frustrating than cold feet—especially when you're trying to focus on living life to the fullest. Whether you're out on a winter hike (yikes!), enjoying time with friends and loved ones, or just lounging around in your home, cold feet can make it difficult to get your daily tasks done, relax, or get comfortable.

Cold feet are not uncommon, and a formal study showed that younger people, women, and those with low BMIs felt the cold more intensely in their extremities. There are a number of cold feet causes, the most prominent of which is poor circulation. Poor circulation in feet can have a variety of causes such as diabetes, Raynaud's disease, and vascular disorders. Establishing if you have poor circulation due to a medical disorder is the first step in finding the best way to treat your cold feet

Once you're empowered with the knowledge of exactly what's going on in your body, you might start looking for a way to keep your feet warm throughout the day. Compression socks are effective in improving circulation and promoting better blood flow to the feet, helping to keep them warm. The best compression socks are usually made of materials that wick away moisture, to prevent sweaty feet, and have a comfortable fit so you can wear them all day long. 

Read on to find out how compression socks work, and why your icicles could be a thing of the past.

Why are my feet always cold?

As we mentioned, there are a number of cold feet causes. Exploring some of the reasons for your cold feet can help you determine the best way to find relief so that you can be proactive about your health and get back to enjoying your life. 

Poor Circulation in Feet

When you have poor circulation, your body has difficulty delivering oxygen-rich blood to your extremities—like your hands and feet. This can cause a number of poor circulation symptoms such as: 

  • Aching muscles 
  • Cramping 
  • Numbness 
  • Tingling sensations 
  • Swelling 
  • Cold feet and hands

Raynaud's Disease

Raynaud's disease (or Raynaud's syndrome) is a condition that causes the blood vessels to constrict, which can reduce blood flow to the feet and make them feel cold. The constriction is sometimes referred to as "spasms" in the blood vessels, which can be brought on by stress and cold weather. Raynaud's disease symptoms include : 

  • Tingling or numbing sensations in the feet 
  • Cold feet and hands 
  • Color changes in the skin of the feet—turning white or blue


Diabetes can cause nerve damage and poor circulation in legs, both of which can lead to cold feet. Symptoms of poor circulation caused by diabetes include: 

  • Numbness or tingling in the feet 
  • Slow-healing wounds or sores on the feet 
  • Cramping in the legs or feet
  • Hair loss on the feet
  • Brittle nails
  • Cracked and dry skin on the feet

Vascular Disorders

There are a number of disorders that affect the veins and arteries, which can cause the blood vessels to become blocked, preventing blood from flowing properly to the feet and causing feet to feel cold. Disorders such as peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is a serious condition, can have the following vascular disease symptoms

  • Aching or cramping in the legs, especially when exercising 
  • Burning or tingling sensations in the feet 
  • Numbness in the legs or feet 
  • Weak pulse in the legs or feet


An underactive thyroid gland can cause poor circulation and make the feet feel cold. When you don't have enough thyroid hormone, your metabolism slows down, which can cause a number of hypothyroidism symptoms and signs, including:

  • Fatigue 
  • Weight gain 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Cold intolerance 
  • Constipation 
  • Dry skin 
  • Hair loss 
  • Irregular menstrual cycles

Hypothyroidism symptoms are closely related to your body temperature, an if you also have feet with poor circulation, you might notice that you're shivering in your space boots even when it's not cold out. 

Circulation and Warmth: What's the Connection?

The body is a complex system of interconnected muscles, bones, and organs that rely on each other to function properly. When one part of the system is not working correctly, it can have a ripple effect and cause problems throughout the entire system. The circulatory system is no different—when blood flow is restricted, it can cause a number of problems, including cold feet.

The circulatory system is responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to the cells in the body and removing waste products. The heart pumps blood through the arteries and veins to the rest of the body. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and veins carry oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. If there is a problem with this complex circulatory system, it can cause a number of problems, including cold feet and hands.

But, the other consideration is that the hands and feet are farthest away from the heart, so if you're experiencing cold feet, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a circulatory problem. The blood vessels in your feet are teeny-tiny, so it makes sense that if you're feeling cold, you'll naturally feel it more significantly in our extremities. When it's cold, our brains naturally send a signal to the blood vessels to constrict in order to prevent heat loss. This is why you feel cold when you're outside in the winter without a coat—your body is trying to keep warm by constricting the blood vessels in your arms and legs - magic! (actually, science).

Benefits of Compression Socks for Cold Feet

Compression socks are a special type of sock that are designed to promote improved circulation in the legs and feet. The socks are tightest at the ankles and gradually become less constrictive up the leg. Compression socks come in different sizes and levels of compression so you can choose the level of support that you need.

What do compression socks do to help with circulation? 

Well, the science behind why compression socks help with circulation is actually pretty simple. Compression socks work by providing gentle pressure on the legs and feet, which helps to promote better blood flow. The compression helps to prevent the pooling of blood in the extremities, and also helps to reduce inflammation.

Compression socks' benefits also extend to people who don't have circulatory problems. If you spend a lot of time on your feet, or if you are pregnant, you might also benefit from compression socks. Pregnant women often experience circulation problems and swelling in their legs and feet, and compression socks can help to reduce these symptoms.

The main benefits of compression socks for those with cold feet include helping to improve blood flow and circulation, preventing blood clots, reducing swelling in the feet and ankles, and helping to relieve pain and discomfort associated with poor circulation such as cramping, numbness, and tingling. Arteries have shown to be responsive to compression, dilating when they are compressed, which helps to improve blood flow.

Can you wear compression socks 24 hours a day?

You can wear compression socks all day if you need to, and some people even wear compression socks for the rest of their lives upon guidance from their doctors. There are no real risks associated with wearing compression socks for long periods of time, unless you have blood clotting disorders or open wounds on your legs or feet. So if you find that they are helpful, there is no reason not to wear them if a medical professional has given you the green light. It is not, however, recommended to sleep with compression socks so remember to take them off when you’re getting into bed. That being said, wearing compression socks at night (not wearing compression socks while sleeping) can make a significant difference if your cold feet are making you uncomfortable before bedtime.

Of course, it's important to make sure that you are wearing the correct compression socks sizes, and that you are not experiencing any discomfort. If you do experience any pain, it's essential that you consult with a doctor. 


If you suffer from cold feet due to circulatory problems, diabetes, vascular disease, or any number of medical conditions or if your feet are naturally cold for long periods in the day, compression socks may be a helpful solution. Compression socks help to improve circulation and prevent the pooling of blood in the extremities, keeping your feet warm and comfortable.

Pear Compression's best-selling compression socks are made in Italy to ensure the highest-quality product, and they're available in a variety of sizes and levels to ensure the perfect fit. Mindfully-made with elegant and versatile designs, our range of hypoallergenic compression socks are designed to be worn with any outfit so you can stay warm all day. You can hand wash or machine wash your Pear  compression socks just like any normal socks - making them easy to care for.

If you're looking for knee high socks to keep your legs warm, you're bound to find a ‘Pear’ that you love in our soft and breathable range of chemical-free compression socks, made from a polyamide microfiber and lycra blend that's designed to be gentle on your skin.

Pear's 'BE KIND' Crew Compression Socks come in a black, white, and tan palette with a special message on the ankle to remind you to not only be kind to those around you, but to give yourself some love and be kind to your body too! 

While we do make every effort to produce accurate and up-to-date content, the information in this blog article is provided for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency resources immediately. Reliance on any information provided in this blog article is solely at your own risk.

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