Cold Hands: Causes, Treatments & Warning Signs

As any hand specialist will tell you, having cold hands isn’t always a cause for concern. The issue could simply be related to how your body maintains a normal temperature.

cold hand causes and treatments

However, persistently cold hands can also be due to a problem with your circulation or blood vessels. So if your hands are always cold, consulting with a hand specialist can help you rule out any potential medical problems.

Causes of Persistently Cold Hands

Generally speaking, decreased blood flow is usually to blame when hands are always cold. This can occur in one of two ways:

  • Vasoconstriction: To regulate blood flow, muscles around the major arteries automatically constrict and relax. Sometimes, these muscles apply too much pressure and inhibit proper circulation.
  • Vaso-occlusion: Decreased blood flow can also be caused when one or more of the blood vessels in the hand or wrist is blocked.

A number of cold hand diseases can cause vasoconstriction and vaso-occlusion. Raynaud’s disease is the most common, but Buerger’s disease, anemia, scleroderma, circulatory disorders and many other conditions can lead to decreased blood flow to the hands.

Warning Signs of Circulation or Blood Vessel Problems

A hand specialist may suspect a circulation or blood vessel problem when cold in the hands is accompanied by certain warning signs. Symptoms that may indicate a cold hand disease include:

  • Changes in skin color, such as the fingers or hands turning white, blue or red
  • Numbness, tingling or pain in the fingers at cold temperatures
  • Cold in the hands during mild weather
  • Difficulty in healing from minor wounds on the fingertips
  • Hardened or tightened skin

Remedies and Treatments for Cold Hands

For symptomatic relief, a hand specialist may recommend adopting behaviors to boost blood flow. Wearing warm, protective gloves can help, as can rubbing the hands together and waving the arms in a circular motion.

Some cold hand diseases require additional treatment. Medication or steroid injections might be necessary to alleviate vasoconstriction and vaso-occlusion. In some cases, a hand specialist may advise surgery to restore proper blood flow.

If you’re bothered by persistently cold hands, an experienced local hand specialist such as Dr. J. Douglas Burrows at northern Utah’s Center of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Excellence can determine the cause and plan an appropriate course of action to improve your symptoms.

As a leading board-certified, fellowship-trained hand specialist with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Burrows has the skills and qualifications to successfully manage disorders, diseases and injuries involving the hands, fingers and wrists. Contact our West Valley City office today to schedule a consultation to discuss your cold hands.

burrows orthopedic surgeon utah
Hand Surgeon at CORE West Valley
Dr. Burrows completed his residency training in plastic and reconstructive surgery, then completed a hand and microsurgery fellowship and an orthopedic hand and upper extremity fellowship.

Dr. Burrows has been in private practice on the campus of Pioneer Valley Hospital since 1994. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon, holding the certificate of added qualifications in surgery of the hand.

If you are in need of surgery for the hand or wrist, schedule a consultation with Dr. Burrows today.