Fall 2023 RA Q&AWelcome to our Winter 2024 RA Q&A column.  These columns share our responses to the inquiries we receive about Raynaud’s symptoms, products, treatments, doctors and more.  We hope you’re finding them helpful in addressing questions you may have about Raynaud’s.

My daughter has Raynaud’s. She was just diagnosed with cancer and must start chemotherapy. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a serious side effect that is highly prevalent among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Her doctors have advised her to wear frozen gloves and socks (cryotherapy) to prevent or reduce CIPN. Her doctors are not familiar with Raynaud’s.  What can she do?  Should she utilize cryotherapy with Raynaud’s ? 

You’re right to question the use of cryotherapy on someone with Raynaud’s, particularly in a situation where your daughter will be getting chemo treatments.  Chemo is known to cause or aggravate Raynaud’s symptoms on its own, so adding cryotherapy is going to be a double dose of aggravating treatments.

Nearly every search on the web for “who should not do cryotherapy” includes Raynaud’s sufferers. Neuropathy will be the least of your daughter’s worries if she loses a digit in trying to prevent it!

I would suggest you coordinate your daughter’s care with a rheumatologist. These are the specialists who are most knowledgeable about Raynaud’s, as they treat the autoimmune diseases closely associated with the condition.  You don’t state whether your daughter’s Raynaud’s is the primary or secondary form.  If it’s secondary, she may already be under the care of a rheumatologist.  But with chemo treatments coming up, she could be a candidate for some of the treatment options (oral and topical meds) that can help alleviate any increased symptoms that may arise from the chemo.  And a rheumatologist will be a good resource in responding to your daughter’s medical professionals who are suggesting the cryotherapy treatments.

Best wishes on your daughter’s recovery!

What do you recommend for Raynaud’s sufferers who wish to ski? My hands and feet are affected and was wondering if heated gloves and socks are the best way forward.  Thanks for your time.

There’s no “specific prescription” of warm products for those who ski with Raynaud’s, but there are a lot of heated options:

    • Heated Boots – These are really a godsend!  It’s been years since I did downhill, so I’m not sure if they still sell boots already set up with built-in heating elements.  Now, I think ski shops can take any ski boot and install aftermarket heaters.  The batteries are rechargeable and last for hours.  But to be safe, I got an extra set of batteries that I kept charged and took