Painfully cold toes can ruin outdoor sports on cold days. We solve the problem with adhesive toe-warmer packets on our socks. However, if your toes feel cold even when it is not cold outside, or if you have loss of feeling or tingling as well, you need a complete work-up for causes of nerve damage. Numb, cold or tingling feet can be one of the first symptoms of diabetes.
Nerves can be damaged by something pinching or stretching them, such as excessive pressure from moving a limb repeatedly (as in carpal tunnel syndrome in your hand), scar tissue, or a disc problem in your back. Nerves can also be damaged by diabetes; lack of a vitamin (such as B12 in pernicious anemia); infections such as Lyme disease, shingles and herpes; poisonings by substances such as mercury or lead, or by diseases such as multiple sclerosis. You should never ignore a neuropathy because many causes are controllable before you suffer permanent damage to your nerves. Check with your doctor to find the cause of any neuropathy.