Pale Feet Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your pale feet symptoms with Buoy, including 3 causes and common questions concerning your pale feet.

  1. 3 Possible Pale Feet Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

3 Possible Pale Feet Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced pale feet. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Mild frostbite of the lower leg

Frostbite is tissue damage caused by exposure to the cold (at or below 32F or 0C). It is most commonly found in people doing leisurely activities like camping, hunting, or snow sports. It is also more likely in those who are intoxicated or have a mental disorder.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: foot pain, swollen foot, foot numbness, foot redness, limping

Symptoms that always occur with mild frostbite of the lower leg: cold toe

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Pale Feet Symptom Checker

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Raynaud phenomenon

Raynaud phenomenon, also called Secondary Raynaud syndrome, is a condition that causes small arteries in the skin to abnormally constrict on exposure to cold water or air. This limits blood flow to the hands, fingers, feet, toes, nose, and ears.

Secondary Raynaud syndrome is rare and is caused by another underlying medical condition, often a connective tissue disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, or lupus.

Women are more likely than men to be affected, especially if living in cold climates. Family history and smoking are also risk factors.

Symptoms include the hands and feet becoming numb and cold. The skin color changes from pale to bluish, and then to red as the skin warms again.

If not treated, patients may get ulcerated sores or deformities of the fingers and toes, or even gangrene, due to the lack of circulation.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and blood tests.

Treatment includes medications to help increase circulation; treatment of any underlying conditions; and lifestyle changes to gain better protection for the extremities in cold conditions.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: distal numbness, cold toe, cold fingers, spontaneous toe pain, spontaneous finger pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Peripheral arterial disease (pad)

Peripheral artery disease is also called PAD, intermittent claudication, or vascular disease. The large main artery from the heart is the aorta, and its smaller branches are the peripheral arteries.

In PAD these peripheral arteries are blocked with plaque, which is debris that builds up in the lining of these arteries and eventually cuts off the blood flow.

Risk factors for PAD include smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

PAD usually involves arteries that lead to the legs, but can affect any artery. Symptoms include numbness and pain in the legs, especially with exercise when more circulation is needed but the flow is blocked.

It is important to seek treatment for these symptoms. PAD can lead to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and infection as well as to gangrene, a life-threatening medical emergency.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, blood tests, and sometimes a treadmill test, MRI, and arteriogram.

Treatment involves medication and surgery to open or bypass blocked arteries, and lifestyle changes regarding diet, exercise, and smoking cessation.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: leg numbness, spontaneous foot pain, decreased exercise tolerance, cold feet, thigh pain

Symptoms that never occur with peripheral arterial disease (pad): calf pain from an injury, thigh pain from an injury

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pale Feet

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Were you recently exposed to the freezing cold (under 32F or 0C)?
  • Do any of your body parts (e.g., toes, hands, ears) feel cold?
  • Did you just suffer from a high impact injury (e.g., a fall, collision, accident or sports trauma)?
  • Do you drink alcohol?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Pale Feet Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your pale feet

Pale Feet Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced pale feet have also experienced:

  • 11% Cold Feet
  • 3% Fatigue
  • 3% Swollen Lower Leg

People who have experienced pale feet were most often matched with:

  • 60% Mild Frostbite Of The Lower Leg
  • 30% Peripheral Arterial Disease (Pad)
  • 10% Raynaud Phenomenon

People who have experienced pale feet had symptoms persist for:

  • 35% Less than a day
  • 25% Over a month
  • 23% Less than a week

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

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