Do your feet constantly feel cold and numb? It could indicate poor circulation in your feet!
Your circulatory system pumps blood throughout your body, nourishing all your cells with the help of arteries and veins. Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart, while veins bring it back to the blood for another dose of oxygen. Along the way, the blood passes through the kidneys, removing waste products.
However, blood flow can become slow or blocked due to several factors, causing poor circulation in your feet, which are farthest from the heart. The good news is that recognizing the signs of sluggish blood flow in your feet can help you quickly seek the treatment you need to get your blood moving freely again.
Signs of poor circulation in your feet
The symptoms of poor circulation in the feet develop gradually over time. Eventually, the signs will become apparent and typically include the following:
A feeling of numbness in the feet
Feet that feel cold even when it’s warm out
Skin that turns blue or purple
Dry, cracked skin
No hair growth on the feet
A sore that doesn’t heal
Poor circulation in the feet can be traced back to an underlying condition, such as the ones below. A vascular specialist can present a diagnosis and treatment plan for you.
Peripheral artery disease. A buildup of plaque in the arteries of the legs and feet causes peripheral artery disease (PAD). Blood flow is restricted, leading to leg pain and cramping. Patients with PAD also experience foot ulcers and pain when walking, a phenomenon known as claudication.
Varicose veins. Poor circulation can also occur in your veins. Just like in your legs, your feet are lined with veins. And when the tiny valves in those veins fail to move blood upward to the heart, the blood expands the veins, causing a visible varicose vein to form. Those with varicose veins often experience swelling, cramping, and a feeling of heaviness in the legs and feet.
Raynaud’s disease. Raynaud’s disease typically flares up when it’s cold, restricting blood flow to the fingers and toes. In addition to a feeling of coldness, Raynaud’s disease also produces tingling sensations and numbness. The fingers and toes may also turn blue.
Diabetes. Too much blood sugar damages blood vessels, which can lead to circulatory problems in the feet. Those with diabetes can also develop neuropathy and slow-healing sores on the feet if the condition isn’t controlled.
How to boost circulation in your feet
With a combination of medical treatment and at-home therapies, you can boost circulation in your feet. Treatment depends on the underlying condition. Always check with your doctor first, but these tips are generally good for keeping your blood pumping.
Stay active. Exercise is a great way to boost your circulation, especially if the problem is due to sluggish blood flow in the veins. Simply walking for 30 minutes each day can work the calf muscles to help the veins move blood. If you sit all day for your job, get up and walk around whenever you can, or try flexing your ankles regularly at your desk.
Wear compression stockings. Give your veins some help by putting on compression stockings. The gentle but continuous pressure from the socks keeps the blood flowing. Compression stockings are highly recommended for sitting for extended periods, such as on a long plane ride.
Eat a vein-healthy diet. Center your meals around foods beneficial to your veins. Foods high in vitamins D, C, and E, flavonoids, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids fall into that category. Pick leafy green vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains for your plate. Combined with exercise, a less fatty diet will help you shed pounds, which takes the pressure off your veins and arteries.
Seek treatment. PAD, Raynaud’s disease, and varicose veins are all treatable conditions with medications and lifestyle changes. Varicose veins, in particular, can be eliminated with one of several minimally invasive outpatient procedures.
Rev up your circulation today!
You don’t have to live with poor circulation in your feet, not when so many treatment options are available. Center for Vein Restoration offers a variety of therapies, from surgical to conservative, to help you get your blood flowing.
Want to see what we can do for you? Contact one of our offices today to schedule a consultation. You may also schedule online at your convenience.