By Hand Therapist Pascalle Smith
A cold, chilly British winter can bring with it many troubles for the hands. Many of us suffer from pain and stiffness in our extremities caused by the cold weather, however, some of us are more sensitive than others.
For some people, Raynaud’s disease can make the cold weather incredibly painful. Furthermore, there are several reasons that can cause people to suffer from Raynaud’s in their hands.
What is Raynaud’s disease?
Raynaud’s affects 10 million people in the UK (Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Association 2014). It is more common in women than men and affects any age adult or child. Raynaud’s generally affects fingers and toes, but can also affect your ears, nipples and nose.
We do not fully understand its cause, however we know that small blood vessels in the extremities are over-sensitive to changes in temperature or when the person is exposed to high stress and anxiety. This results in colour changes to the skin; hands may turn red, white or blue for a few minutes or several hours.
Severe attacks can result in numbness as the fingers warm up pain. Sufferers often struggle with everyday activities such as handling small coins, doing up buttons and putting their key in the front door.
- Cold fingers and toes
- Colour changes from white to blue/purple and then red
- Numbness, tingling or pain in the affected area
- Stinging or throbbing pain upon warming or stress relief