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Monday, December 12, 2011

Cold Feet: Where to Start.

Hi my friend! I'm making some progress on the foot with an accupuncturist. It's slow going but a little less painful. I'm writing for another reason though...my Mom has been suffering with some weird symptoms in her feet and, although she's seen every doctor imaginable, she hasn't gotten any relief. I thought I would ask my favorite podiatrist! Her symptoms are that her feet feel frozen 99% of the time. The ONLY time they are warm is when she is barefoot and drinking wine which, although that sounds like fun, can't be all the time. She believes it is circulatory but has seen a specialist and they can't find anything wrong. She is at her wits end and doesn't know where else to turn. Any thoughts? I would appreciate any advice. I hope you are well and that your holidays are outstanding.
 
Best,
Karen

Dear Karen, Thank you for the email. I know on my blog there are some references to help this problem. Most of the time it is some vaso-spastic condition that can not be identified. So the detective in you and her must come out. I am assuming a vascular specialist has ruled out PAD, peripheral arterial disease (the reason for so many amputations and deaths). If she was in my office right now, I would check her pulses which again I am assuming are fine. I would look for other signs of poor circulation--loss of foot hair, shiny skin, excessive swelling, inadequate return of blood flow to the toes (SPVPFT-yes, there are abbreviations for everything). I would ask her what makes the coldness worse: cold temps, socks, shoes, elevation, dependency of the legs, etc. I would then list what has made her better:

Wine--alcohol is always a vasodilator (increases the blood flow).
Barefoot--normally means that there is no compression on the arteries from socks or shoes.

Can you think of anything else? 
I would have her experiment with elevation vs dependency, short socks vs long socks, warm water soaks, niacin tablets, 8 oz glass of quinine water, Toastie Toes from REI or Amazon, Infracare Socks, Contrast bathing. As the results turn up, you find the answers to the riddle. Great Sherlock are we!! 

If she lives near me, I expect an invite for a glass of wine for the advice. Only partially teasing!!

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.