Causes of Foot Pain in the Winter

January 11, 2023 3:24 pm Published by

Consistently cold weather during the winter months can make many parts of your body feel stiff and painful— including your feet. Whether it’s daily pain or lingering conditions that act up without notice, foot pain in winter is a common complaint. Below, we’ll take a look at why your feet can hurt when it’s cold, and what you can do to ease the cold weather feet blues. 

Foot Pain in Cold Weather: 3 Causes

1. Dry Skin

As the heaters turn on and the air dries out, so can your skin. In fact, this is the most common winter-related foot complaint. If left alone, your heels could become dry and deeply cracked, increasing the risk of infection. Dry, cracked skin on your feet can also open the door for bacteria and fungus.

2. Improper Footwear

When you trade out your summertime sandals for winter boots or closed-toed shoes, your feet may feel constricted and uncomfortable. The compression from too-tight footwear and thick socks can lead to several causes of foot pain or worsen existing conditions including:

If your thick winter socks don’t wick away moisture, you could also suffer from athlete’s foot or other infections caused by bacteria.

3. Decreased Circulation

The colder time of the year can also affect your circulation. When the temperature drops, your body limits blood flow to your extremities to reserve heat. Common symptoms of foot pain caused by decreased circulation can include cold and painful feet, numbness, and discoloration. If your feet already have circulation challenges, the cold weather can worsen your condition. 

Circulation-related foot conditions worsened by the cold include:

If the cold weather has caused severe circulation problems for your feet, it’s a good idea to speak with your podiatrist to see if you need to come in right away.

Prevent Foot Pain This Winter

Upgrade Your Foot Care

As winter approaches, give extra attention to your feet with a good foot care regimen. Keeping your toenails trimmed can prevent injury and pain while using a daily moisturizer can prevent painful cracks and fissures. 

Additionally, keep your feet clean and dry, change your socks daily, and make sure your socks wick away moisture to avoid a build-up of bacteria. Check your feet daily for any signs of problems, tightness, swelling, or pain. If you take care of your feet, they’ll take care of you.

Wear the Right Shoes

The right shoes can reduce foot pain in winter. Even if your winter shoes were the perfect fit last year, the shape and size of your feet can change as you age. For example, feet tend to get wider as the elasticity changes and the arches sag. Replace ill-fitting shoes and boots with proper footwear to keep the foot and toe troubles at bay. 

If your shoes are a comfortable fit, but lack support, consider podiatrist-approved shoe inserts to keep your feet healthy all season long. After heavy snow or rain, make sure your shoes have a place to dry to prolong their life and keep your feet toasty warm.

Know When To Call Your Podiatrist

Healthy feet can make it easier to complete your normal daily winter activities— without the foot pain. Prolonged pain in your feet is not only uncomfortable, but it’s also a sign that there could be an underlying issue. If you are still suffering from painful feet this winter, schedule an appointment with The Foot & Ankle Group to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. We’re here to help.

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