Font Size

Cold Hands and Feet (cont.)


  • Severely frostbitten areas may require amputation. Frostbitten areas that recover are prone to excessive sweating, pain, coldness, numbness, changes in skin color, and stiffness. Frostbite in children may lead to growth abnormalities of the affected part.
  • Frostnipped areas recover without any difficulties, except that they may be sensitive to the cold for months or years.
  • Areas with immersion injury may also require amputation. Affected areas remain sensitive to cold for years and may have all the problems associated with frostbite.
  • Areas of pernio usually recover within two weeks. Sometimes the rash may last longer. The skin may darken permanently. Pernio may come back if you are exposed to cold again.
  • Raynaud's phenomenon tends to be intermittent. It can usually be handled if you avoid exposure to cold, but medication may be of benefit for those who are unable to avoid cold temperatures.
  • People with cryoglobulins may have minor symptoms such as cold intolerance and finger discoloration to severe, life-threatening symptoms such as kidney failure or stroke. Cryoglobulins are not common.
  • Cold urticaria can usually be controlled by avoidance of cold but sometimes requires medication.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/26/2015

Must Read Articles Related to Cold Hands and Feet

Hypothermia Hypothermia occurs when the normal body temperature of 95 F (35 C) or lower. Causes of hypothermia include exposure to a very cold or frigid environment (primar...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cold Hands and Feet:

Cold Hands and Feet - Causes

What was the cause of your cold hands and feet?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Cold Injuries »

Exposure to cold can produce various injuries that occur as a result of the human inability to adapt to cold.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary