How effective and safe to use are liniments like tiger balm to warm up feet after water sports?

I've tried massaging or walking / running after drying feet and putting warm socks, but it didn't help much. The feet keep feeling 'hard' and a bit uncomfortable while driving.

Are liniments an effective way to stimulate blood circulation in cold feet? Or there are some dangers using them after the contact with cold water, like the risk of damaging the skin?

Just to prevent answers pointing in the wrong direction, the problem is specific for feet. This is because my feet have contact with the surface, in the activity that is oriented on the core and arms, and legs are more idle. But it's not specific to the situation. If you do a long hike in snow in wet shoes, you have the same problem. No general hypothermia problem, but very cold feet.

2 Answers 2


Depending on how cold the rest of you has got, warming the extremities by increasing blood flow to them may be a bad idea. They're probably numb in the first place because your body prioritises keeping your core warm, and that's a good thing

There's a phenomenon known as after-drop, which can lead to hypothermia if not managed well. This is why you can get out of the water feeling comfortable, dress quickly and then start shivering. It refers to your core temperature carrying on dropping, mainly through heat conduction, though blood flow is also implicated.

A rush of blood to the extremities can also cause a rapid drop in blood pressure, which is why warming too fast can leave you feeling faint. This is more of an issue with getting into a hot bath than with warming on the bank. On the other hand, some people do find that a flask of warm water poured into a bowl in which they put their feet is effective. At leats this warms by delivering heat rather than getting it from your core. If you've only got one flask, save it for a hot drink.

Another suggestion is to wear neoprene socks or booties for the actual swim. They also protect numb feet walking on the bank.

  • My core has enough heat because it's protected by the dry suit. But the feet are exposed, event though I have 7mm neoprene shoes. Nov 30, 2021 at 8:30
  • 1
    The drysuit is news, as is the fact you've already got booties. Perhaps you could edit that into the question, then I might change the emphasis at least
    – Chris H
    Nov 30, 2021 at 8:54

Massage Massaging the foot increases blood flow to the region, which can help relieve pain and inflammation. I suggest using a product like Tiger Balm or Voltarol gel, and it will assist you.

However, Tiger Balm should not be used in heating solution if you have skin problems and One hour before or 30 minutes after being exposed to hot, humid circumstances, such as a hot shower, sauna, or hot tub. on shattered skin or exposed wounds when the skin is irritated, inflamed, reddish, chapped, or dry.


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