Hands Hurt When Cold – Ideas For Relief

It’s one thing to have cold hands, it’s another to have your hands hurt when they’re cold. During winter just going outside to the store or visiting friends or family during the winter holidays sometimes our hands get cold just being outside. And if the wind is blowing that makes it that much worse.
But this is just from being outside for a small duration. What about being outside for longer periods of time such as going to a football game, watching a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday parade? Or walking with your kids during the Halloween gathering of candy and treats or watching run crazy picking up those wanted Easter Eggs and lets not for hunting.

Sometimes the cold weather doesn’t seem to bother us so bad as other times. It may not as cold out or it is more of a dry type cold. Have ever been out during snow and it seems to be somewhat warmer than it should be for snow? Have you ever heard someone say, as it was snow that it’s a dry or a wet snow? Dry snow tends to not be as slick as wet snow. So, could wet or dry cold be a key to warmer hands and stopping the pain? Could be a good indicator, wet snow contains moisture and of course dry doesn’t contain as much moisture. So, keeping moisture away could be the key to staying warm and stopping the pain. We will touch on why hands hurt when cold and ideas for relief. Below we will go over a few topics that may help you keep your hands warmer and stop the hurt during winter seasons. We will also cover some dangers of cold numb hands and fingers and what it could lead to.

Understanding Our Hands

What causes hands to hurt when its cold?. I am NOT a Doctor, but from what I’ve read it’s due to the nerves in our hands. It is these nerves which there are three specific ones that deal with each sensation.

  1. Nerve for Cold
  2. Nerve for Hot
  3. Nerve of Pain

These nerves are stimulated by both extreme temperatures, the nerve for cold is stimulated by extremely cold temperatures as the nerve for hot is stimulated by extremely hot temperatures. The nerve of pain is stimulated when the individual’s tolerance level is maximized. Once the individual’s certain threshold is reached, then the pain begins to come to the hands and to our attention. This is your bodies natural way of saying, it’s time to get our butt in out of the weather.

Blood Flow In Hand

The nerves and blood vessels in the human hand and feet are densely packed together and closer to the surface of the skin. Thus, when out in extreme cold conditions the hands and feet especially the fingers and toes seem to get colder faster and seem to hurt quicker than any other parts of the body. When numbness comes to your fingers and toes this should be a big alarm and you need to get to shelter out of the cold as soon as possible. When the numbness start that is your bodies natural way to save itself and as it is shutting off the blood flow to the hands and feet to keep the vitals of the core of the body protected.

Although many suffer from cold hands while staying indoors, and some even experience numbness as well while indoors. This could be an issue of poor blood circulation when the hands stay cold even indoors and often has pain and discomfort when performing normal everyday duties. If you feel you may have poor circulation in your hands get with your doctor and ask how you can `improve blood flow and circulation` in your hands.

Frostbite – Symptoms/Stages/Prevention

Frostbite is when the body is exposed to extreme temperatures for long periods of time causing the skin or other tissues to freeze. The most vulnerable areas of the body are the fingers, toes, cheeks, ears, and nose as the blood vessels and nerves are so densely compacted and close to the skin’s surface.

This usually happens at temperatures of -15°C / 5°F, but the wind plays an important factor in temperature. Just because the weather will be above freezing 0°C / 32°F you also must factor in the wind conditions when subjecting yourself to extreme cold conditions. This is known as the wind chill, the wind chill factor comes into play when temperatures reach 10°C / 50°F and depending on how fast the wind is blowing will determine how much colder you will be subjecting your body too. It is a good idea to calculate the wind chill when temperatures reach 10°C / 50°F or below to give yourself an idea on how to dress if going outdoors is a must.

Symptoms – Frostbite grows more and more the longer you subject yourself to cold temperatures. The initial symptoms are feeling the pain of the cold, followed by a prickling or tingling feeling followed by numbness, then the skin is discolored (red, white, gray, or yellow) and pain around the affected area. Severe cases are when there are blisters on the skin, skin turns black and joints and muscles are stiff or not functioning.

Stages – Frostbite occurs in three different stages, these stages don’t mean you if you have the first stage you can wait for the second, You really need to take shelter out of the cold during the first stage. The three stages of frostbite are…

  • Frostnip – [1st stage] Mild form of frostbite, skin pales or turns red and feels very cold.
  • Superficial – [2nd stage] reddened skin that turns white or pale, skin may remain soft but show some ice crystals
  • Severe – [3rd state] all layers infected, losing all sensation of cold, pain or discomfort.

Prevention – When preventing frostbite a person needs to know how to dress for extremely cold temperatures. Here are some tips on how to dress

  • Dress in loose, light, and comfortable layers
  • Protect your feet and toes
  • Protect your head
  • Protect your hands
  • Make sure snow cannot get inside your boots or clothing
  • Keep yourself hydrated with water

What To Wear/Being Prepared

When going out in the cold weather for any period puts us some risk of frostbite dangers, mostly we don’t stay out too long if we are just going from one place to another such as work, shopping, movies, church, or visiting friends and family. Other times we enjoy outdoor activities that expose us to longer periods out in the cold weather that could expose us to even more dangers of pain in our hands and feet as well as the beginning stage of frostbite. For this type of activities, we need to dress appropriately to keep frostbite and the pain of hand hurting due to the cold. Here are some tips on what to wear

    • Wear a wicking material next to your skin that wicks moisture away from your body
    • Wear an insulated material such wool or fleece
    • Wear a windproof and waterproof material as an outer shell

This will give you three protective layers that will keep you warm and dry, dry being an important part of keeping warm. Moisture like sweat will be your enemy as it will make you colder once you stop moving. There is all type of wicking materials such as wick away gloves, shirts, pants and even socks. For your headwear an insulated hat or toboggan. For your feet wear insulated boots or boot blankets. The outer shell look at insulated and breathable rain gear. This will also be windproof to keep both rain, moisture, and wind away from your body holding your natural body heat.

When it comes to being prepared we tend to leave ourselves open. When we go from one place to another we depend on our vehicles to keep us warm as we are between points A and B.

But what if you had vehicle trouble and it stopped running, you had no cell phone service, and you had to walk to find help or cell phone service? What would you do? Here are a few ideas.

  1. Pack a cold weather kit and keep it in your vehicle
  2. Tell two or three people your route of travel to work and back home

What to Pack in a cold weather kit

  • Insulated Coveralls/Bibs and Parka
  • Insulated Boots/ Boot Blankets
  • Insulated Gloves/Mitts/ or Hand Muffs
  • Windproof/Waterproof Rain Suit
  • Air Activated Hand Warmer Packs
  • Water

Keep this in your vehicle especially in winter to help protect you just in case of unplanned situations.


I would like to personally thank you for taking the time to view this page. I hope that it been helpful to you in making a decision to purchase a hunting hand muff or not. If you know someone that would benefit from this page please feel free to share it with them. And Keep in mind that I am not a doctor and if you feel you have some of these symptoms and need help you need to contact your doctor as soon as possible. I hope you found the information to be a benefit to you.



  1. This is a great post especially for this time of year! I often forget to bring gloves/mitts and where I am right now I am lucky to get away with it but I am sure there are certain places where I couldn’t. I like your post on the hand muffs! I totally want one now 🙂

    • Thank you Andrea for taking the time to look over my site. Hope you’ll come back from time to time to check out any changes and other up and coming links. All the best to you.

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