December 01, 2018

Keeping fingers and toes warm

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 moisturewicking 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...