person feels cold legs

What Does it Mean When You Have Cold Legs?

If you’ve experienced cold legs yourself, we encourage you to share your experiences to help other patients. PatientsLikeMe’s unique data-sharing platform allows you to share detailed data about all types of treatments, interventions, and lifestyle modifications that have helped you or simply had no effectHave you suddenly realized that your legs are cold? You’re sitting in a chair working, or maybe laying down on a couch watching your favorite movie and you start looking around searching for a blanket to warm you up. 

If you feel like your extremities are often cold, you may start wondering if cold legs could be a symptom. Cold Sensations of coldness in the extremities – like legs, feet, and toes – are a common occurrence and usually are not a cause of concern. Chronic cold extremities may be a symptom of an underlying condition. There are a few medical conditions that may cause these symptoms and are worth consulting a doctor. 

Poor Circulation

The most common cause of cold feet and toes is poor circulation. Atherosclerosis is a common condition that causes fatty deposits in arteries and prevents adequate blood flow to your feet, causing poor circulation. Your feet may appear slightly blue or purple when you are sitting, and pale or white when you are laying down. You may also experience pain in your calves while walking. 

Circulation problems may also arise when small blood vessels constrict to conserve heat in the body. Raynaud’s disease is a rare condition that causes the blood vessels in your hands and feet to narrow when you feel stressed or cold. This makes feet feel even colder and appear bluer than your normal skin color. 

Neurological Disorders

Some neurological disorders may cause damage to the peripheral nervous system, which is responsible for sending signals from your brain to the rest of your body. Symptoms of neurological damage appear in the feet first and can also present itself as tingling, burning, or prickling sensations. 

Nerve damage happens because the nerves that detect temperature aren’t working correctly, and can’t send the right signals from the brain to the body.

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy. Some other risk factors include liver disease, kidney disease, and a family history of the condition. 


A lack of iron could cause cold feet. Iron is a mineral whose main responsibility is to make red blood cells and carry oxygen throughout the body. Anemia is caused by iron deficiency and produces symptoms like fatigue, weakness, irregular heartbeat, and cold feet and hands. 

Cold feet happens because the muscles and tissues in your feet aren’t getting enough oxygen to work as effectively as they should.

Warming Cold Feet

If you have symptoms in addition to chronic cold feet and think you may have one of these conditions, it’s worth paying a visit to your primary care physician. 

If your feet are cold but don’t accompany any other symptoms and you have no medical history of other conditions, here are a few tips to help warm them up:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Wear thicker socks
  • Foot massage
  • Warm foot baths
  • Quit smoking
  • Improve diet

At PatientsLikeMe, there are over 800,000 patients are sharing their experiences with conditionssymptomstreatments, and over 65,000 patients report cold legs below the knee. The majority rate this symptom as either “moderate” (42%) or “severe” (31%).  

Many of these patients list their primary condition as ALS(Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis (MS), or have one of the conditions listed above. 

While regular exercise may not be accessible for everyone depending on their condition, two treatments that our patients report for cold legs are a powered wheelchair and a handicap/disabled parking permit.

Join PatientsLikeMe

If you’ve experienced cold legs, we encourage you to share your experiences to help other patients. PatientsLikeMe’s community allows you to share information about different types of treatments, interventions, and lifestyle modifications that you have tried for your condition. Remember, no matter what your condition, you are not alone. 

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