As fall starts to roll in, the temperatures start to drop. Many people like these mild temperatures but some have a hard time with them because when it gets cold, their extremities begin to experience pain. The blood vessels in their lower extremities get very narrow and begin to shut down completely. Toes first turn white, then blue, and lastly red once the blood returns to them. This condition affects 5 to 10 percent of Americans but only a small portion of them choose to seek treatment for it. Females are 9 times more likely to suffer from this condition. This condition is Raynaud’s Disease.


The blood vessels in the extremities contract when the temperature drops. This contraction causes a lack of oxygen to the toes and tissue. Toes will feel very cold to the touch and also numb. There could be swelling as the toes turn white, then blue, and eventually back to red gain when blood is flowing as it should be. A painful throbbing sensation can also occur in the toes and feet. The toes are more commonly affected by Raynaud’s Disease but the fingers, lips, and ears can also be affected by this condition. Episodes usually last about 15 minutes in total.


The exact cause of Raynaud’s is unknown. What is known is that a hyperactive nervous system is to blame for the narrowing of the blood vessels, which is more commonly known as vasoconstriction. It can be caused by normal everyday activities, such as entering a cold place, opening a freezer, or submerging yourself in cold water. Some people who are under a lot of stress will experience these symptoms without the change of temperature.

There are two main types of Raynaud’s Disease. These types are known as primary and secondary Raynaud’s. Primary Raynaud’s is the more common type of the disorder. It affects people and does not come from a secondary medical condition. Secondary Raynaud’s is the result of an underlying medical condition. Both are manageable under the care of a podiatrist.

Some things that are thought to link directly to the cause of this condition are:


  • Stay warm
  • Relieve stress
  • Soak your feet in warm water (not hot)
  • Prescribed medication

If you are suffering from any pain or discoloration in your toes, it is important to contact James C. Ricketti, DPM, located in Hamilton Square, New Jersey right away. These symptoms could be due to Raynaud’s or another more severe condition. Dr. Stephen J. Skokan and Dr. James C. Ricketti will help you determine your condition and formulate a treatment plan that is right for you. Call 609-587-1674 or make an appointment online today to get your feet back into tip top shape.

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