Imagine you’re standing on a garden hose. Water may still flow out the end of it, but it will flow more easily if you lift your foot off the tube and let it move freely. Blocking the path of any moving liquid sharply limits how much of it reaches its destination. The same is true for fluids in your body, especially your blood. Poor circulation limits how much vital blood reaches your lower limbs and can leave your feet aching.
How your blood flows through your body is an important part of your circulation. If it moves weakly through your feet, your lower limbs don’t have the benefit of sufficient, readily-available oxygen and nutrients. You feel the loss the most when you’re active. Typically your feet and even your legs will cramp when you exercise. As your poor circulation worsens, you may experience aching when you’re at rest as well. You might notice a change in the temperature or discoloration in the skin on your feet. Sometimes slow-healing sores develop as well. This an especially high risk for anyone who also struggles with diabetes. Between the increased chance for injuries from diabetic neuropathy and the weakened immune system from poor circulation, these sores can become dangerous sources of infection.
Improving the Problem
Poor circulation can develop a variety of ways. It could be caused by a build-up of plaque along artery walls blocking the flow, like peripheral artery disease. High cholesterol levels, heart disease, hypertension,smoking, and diabetes also damage blood vessels and slow the circulation. To restore your feet to comfort and prevent serious complications, like diabetic foot issues, you need to improve your lower limb blood flow.
Our expert staff here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle will evaluate your foot discomfort and the effects your circulation has on your feet. Then we can help you move forward with treatment. Regular exercise is one of the most important therapies to improve blood flow. Getting your heart pumping forces the blood through the damaged areas and increases the amount reaching your feet. We can help you establish a foot-safe program that will encourage healthy circulation without damaging your lower limbs.
You’ll also need to treat the underlying issue that caused your circulation problems. You may need medication to manage your blood pressure or cholesterol levels. If you have diabetes, you’ll need to monitor your blood sugar levels and work to make sure they stay within the appropriate target range. You will also need to use supportive, cushioned shoes—or at least orthotics—to protect your feet from developing sores that could easily deteriorate into ulcers.
Poor circulation can cause a variety of painful problems and put you at a higher risk for diabetic foot complications. If you know you have circulatory problems, whether or not you feel the discomfort in your lower limbs now, you need to take steps to care for your feet before the discomfort limits your activities. Don’t wait to remedy the issue. Contact NorthPointe Foot & Ankle in Berkley, MI, for more information or an appointment; you can reach us by calling (248) 545-0100 or by using our website contact form.