Is it a bad idea to warm your hands too quickly after they've been very cold?

I live in New England. Often, when I come home from a long walk somewhere, my hands will be very, very cold.

My immediate instinct is to run them under hot water for immediate relief. It produces a very pleasing, tingly sensation.

However, I’m wondering if there could be any negative side effects for such a quick fluctuation in the temperature of my hands. Sometimes I feel a slight ache after, but that could just be in my head.

You should use warm water, not hot. It also may help to move them around or rub them.

if cold water is warmer than your hands then that will work too. when you feel the cold of the water then turn the temperature up. moving under a water flow or in a container of water will help.

The issues are as I know them:
1- if your hand are too cold they will not be able to distinguish ‘too hot’ and can suffer damage.
2 - if frostbite has set in you don’t want to thaw your flesh out without medical assist.

If in some magical way you could determine that you don’t have any form of frostbite (frostnip) and that the water was a safe temperatures for hand warming, IDK why one would be advised not to.

I’ve recovered from mild frostbite without medical assistance. It literally hurts like Hell- it’s akin to being burned.

Nailed it - the biggest (and, most cases only significant) issue is that you would scald yourself because you won’t detect the temperature of the water.
If you are extremely cold, just adjusting a known faucet to a known position (esp. easy with single-level - how far off the center point gets you lukewarm - set it there and leave it there until you are at room temp.
The additional time is trivial compared to a burn.

It is thought that rapid temperature changes can lead to chillblains so that is a possibility.

Chill blains look like burns - like a mild frostbite (frozen cells are dead) or burnt due to high temperature (didn’t feel that it was too hot, due to the lack of sensation, or the burning sensation being expected… )
There is no explanation for why the rate of change in temperature should hurt…

Fun fact: frostbite permanently damages capillaries, so after a part of you has been frostbitten it will be more susceptible to frostbite in the future.

If you can still grasp objects with your hands and feel pin pricks with your finger tips, it’s unlikely that you have frostbite. Can you feel the water/water temp/water pressure when you put your hands in the water stream?

Warming your hands in water slightly above normal body temperature should be fine.

I use polypropolene/polypropylene glove liners ($5 to $8 per pair). The polypro wicks moisture away from the skin, keeping the skin dry and warmer. For “winter-only” gloves, I’ll invert the outer glove and tack (sew) the fingertips of the liners to the fingertips of the outers.

The only down side I recall having been told of is that your cold hands are going to be a little numb, and you can burn them before you recover enough feeling to notice.

I would caution against setting fire to your hands. That would probably be a little too quick.

I’ve had a question similar to the OP. Here in NJ there’s little chance of frostbite, but here’s my experience: Sometimes I’ll use warm water to remove the chill, and then of course I dry my hands. What I find, though, is that there’s still enough dampness on my hands that it evaporates, giving an unpleasant cool feeling. Plus, although the warm water has warmed up the surface, the inside of the hand is still cold and will suck the heat away from the skin. So I don’t bother with the warm water anymore, and I just put my hands in my pockets for a while. Unless y’all can tell me what I’m doing wrong…