How Do I Know if I Have Poor Circulation in My Feet?

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
A person wearing rainbow-colored socks

You'll likely feel it in your feet when your circulation fails to work properly. Thankfully, it’s easy to improve poor circulation with some lifestyle tips.

Do your feet feel numb or tingly at times? Or perhaps they feel painful, swollen, or cold? These signs could point to poor circulation in your feet!

The symptoms of poor circulation in the feet are bothersome and can make everyday tasks difficult, but the condition often traces back to an underlying cause such as varicose veins. A vascular specialist can determine the cause of poor circulation and help you overcome the issue.

What causes poor circulation in the feet?

The health of your circulatory system depends on uninterrupted blood flow in your arteries and veins. Arteries bring oxygenated blood from the heart to the organs and tissues. Once tissues and organs receive the oxygen and nutrients, veins return the blood to the heart, where blood is infused with oxygen again.

However, poor circulation presents a different story. Since your feet are the farthest away from the heart and must fight against gravity in pumping blood back to the chest, you’ll experience the symptoms of poor circulation most acutely in your extremities. Although a vascular specialist can determine the exact cause, the most likely reasons for poor circulation in the feet are:

PAD. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), refers to a buildup of plaque in the arteries in the legs. The plaque restricts blood flow and causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the feet.

Varicose veins. Your veins return blood to the heart with the help of tiny valves inside your leg veins. However, when those valves weaken, blood backflows and causes the vein to swell. Eventually, a varicose vein emerges, along with pain, cramping, and a feeling of heaviness in the leg. You may have varicose veins on your legs and feet if you notice protruding veins.

Blood clots. As blood flow slows, blood cells will cluster together and form a clot. A clot that forms in the leg veins is called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Signs of DVT include a swollen area in one leg, pain, and a sensation of warmth. Those symptoms must be treated immediately. If the clot to dislodges and travels to the lungs, you could experience a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

High blood pressure and diabetes limit blood flow in the arteries and veins, causing your legs and feet to feel cold or numb. Your doctor can use a series of imaging and blood tests to determine the cause and suggest a course of treatment.

Treating poor circulation

To treat poor circulation, you need to first target the underlying condition. Statins can reduce plaque accumulation in the arteries, while blood thinners can prevent blood clots. Several minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins can also improve blood flow.

At home, you can stimulate circulation by making lifestyle changes. Start by following these tips:

Exercise. Nothing boosts circulation like movement. A sedentary lifestyle will only make it easier for blood to pool in the veins. A quick activity such as a brisk walk every day for 15 minutes can help keep the blood moving.

Eat healthily. A heart-healthy diet of fruits and vegetables is good for your veins, arteries, and overall health. Avoid foods high in fat, sugar, and sodium.

Quit smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes can promote plaque accumulation in the arteries and veins.

Lose weight. Not only do extra pounds put excess pressure on the veins, leading to weakened valves and varicose veins, but the fat in foods also tends to end up as plaque in the arteries.

Poor circulation is a very treatable condition. Once the underlying cause is determined and treated, your blood will flow smoothly. Head off poor circulation by changing your health habits now.

Visit a vein specialist for poor circulation

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) operates three locations around Phoenix, Arizona. Each vein center offers a full range of minimally invasive treatments to eliminate bulging veins and improve circulation. A board-certified physician with years of experience in treating vein disorders leads each office.

Nick Morrison, MD, FACS, FACPh, is a board-certified general surgeon in Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.

Soohyun Kim, MD, RVT, brings her expertise as a vascular surgeon to treat every stage of vein disease.

Contact their offices today for a consultation, or call 240-965-3915 for more information.

3509 S. Mercy Road, Suite 101

Gilbert, AZ 85297

1500 S. Dobson Road, Suite 310

Mesa, AZ 85202

9515 W. Camelback Road

Suite 108 Phoenix, AZ 85037

Find CVR Near You