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Q: Numb toes ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Numb toes
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: rai130-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 01 Nov 2005 01:53 PST
Expires: 01 Dec 2005 01:53 PST
Question ID: 587441
I have a reoccuring problem every winter. When the temperature drops,
my big toes on both feet get numb and cold. I live in London, UK so
the temperature never really drops that far. I'm a bit worried that it
might be a problem in the future.

I am 25 years old, eat a balanced diet and do plenty of exercise...
any ideas what could be the problem, or is it nothing to worry about?
Subject: Re: Numb toes
Answered By: alanna-ga on 01 Nov 2005 21:05 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello rai130-ga -

You've sent in a very interesting question.  The amazing thing is how
little is written about the problem of toes that so easily become cold
in cold weather.  I'd like to tell you from the start that I am not a
physician and I am not qualified to give medical advice on the matter.

All I can tell you are the types of medical conditions in which a
symptom is cold fingers and/or toes--or more precisely, digits that
may be extra sensitive to cold.

"Raynaud's Phenomenon" is a constriction of the blood vessels in the
fingers or toes (or ears or nose) in response to cold.  It is often
accompanied by intense feelings of cold and sometimes pain in the
affected portion which turns very pale or sometimes bluish.

An attack may be brought about by opening a freezer door or walking
outside in the cold.

Raynaud's usually occurs in younger people with about three-quarters
under the age of 40 according to researchers at the University of
Medicine and Dentistry of NewJersey.

Raynaud's phenomenon responds to drug treatment.'s+phenomenon's disease

"Buerger's Disease" is a progressive disease causing the arteries and
veins to constrict causing coldness in fingers or toes.   It's cause
is unknown, but smoking seems to accelerate the disease.

Treatments are available for Buerger's Disease.

"Peripheral neuropathies" are disurbances in the nerves of the
extremities.  Sometimes coldness is a symptom of these disturbances.
Very often they are a result of an underlying disease or condition
such as diabetes, trauma, poisoning. It is the underlying problem that
must be treated.

In researching your question, rai130, I rarely ran across the symptom
as you describe it in yourself--the cyclical feeling of coldness when
winter rolls around.  I was extra-interested in finding something out
about this because, believe it or not, I have the same symptom! 
Mostly I've been "treating" it with an extra pair of socks.

However, I did find this intriguing report, which I will copy here in
its entirety.

Relationship between chilliness of the limbs and daily-life conditions
in young females

[Original article in Japanese]

by Miyamoto N, Aoki T, Muto N, Inaba R, Iwata H.

Gifu City Women's College, Japan.

In winter, many people have trouble with chilliness in their arms and
legs. Many women are especially sensitive to cold, and for them the
chilliness of the hands and the feet is difficult to ease even after
entering a warm room, or taking a bath. They even feel pain owing to
coldness of their limbs in daily life. This symptom has been called
"hiesho" in Japanese. The problem of this chilliness is difficult to
study because this symptom, in general, can be cured when spring
comes. Coldness of the limbs has been considered to be one of the
symptoms of the climacteric disturbance among middle-aged females.
Recently, however, it was reported that many young females also feel
pain owing to coldness of the hands and legs in their daily life
during winter. This study investigates the problems of chilliness in
the limbs of young females in their daily life. By means of a
questionnaire, 642 female college students aged from 18 to 20 years
answered questions concerning: (1) physical characteristics, (2)
physical conditions in their daily life, (3) physical conditions in
winter, and (4) physical conditions in summer. The replies to the
questionnaires were tested using the chi 2 test. The major results
were as follows: 1. Half of the subjects were sensitive to cold, and
had difficulty sleeping owing to chilliness of their limbs in winter
even in a warm environment. For the following results the subjects who
were sensitive to cold had significant differences (p < 0.05) compared
to non-sensitive subjects to cold.

All the best and good luck at getting at the root of your problem,

rai130-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks... nice to know I'm not the only one out there!

Looks like I'd better either see a doc or move to warmer climes...

Subject: Re: Numb toes
From: markvmd-ga on 01 Nov 2005 03:50 PST
Numbness in your extremities should always be evaluated by a doctor. I
will leave it to an Answerer to provide details, but such numbness can
be the symptoms of diabetes, compromised circulation, and a number of
other problems.

It could also mean you just need to move to a more pleasant climate.
Haven't you been hoping for an excuse to pack it in and move to
Subject: Re: Numb toes
From: hardhat-ga on 01 Nov 2005 14:10 PST
I lived in Torremolinos from '77' to '85' The climate is perfect for
big toes and another big plus is the beach is Topless.

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