Winter’s chill can be especially hard on the fingers and toes if you have arthritis or a condition such as Raynaud’s disease that affects blood circulation. To maintain warmth and comfort:
- Encourage circulation — Wiggle or massage your fingers and toes. Move your arms in a windmill circle or shake your arms and legs.
- Choose mittens — Mittens offer more warmth than do gloves. Look for a pair that’s insulated with wool or fleece.
- Double up — Wear two pairs of socks. For the layer closest to your skin, look for a moisture wicking fabric. On top, choose a wool or wool-blend sock.
- Carry hand and foot warmers — Small charcoal or chemical packs that generate a low level of heat can be placed in your mittens, socks or boots. Battery-powered options also are available. You can find warmers of all types in many sporting goods stores.
- Warm with water — Soak your hands or feet in warm — not hot — water or place cold hands under running warm water.
- Try specialty gloves — Therapeutic gloves designed for people with Raynaud’s disease may help.
- Exercise regularly — Regular physical activity helps increase blood flow to the body’s tissues.
- Don’t smoke — Smoking narrows the blood vessels, which can restrict circulation.
If the cold is bothersome despite your efforts, talk to your doctor. Let your doctor know if your fingers or toes feel numb or painful, or turn white or blue