Poor circulation can affect your feet just as it can your legs. Talk to a vein specialist to explore treatments that will get your blood pumping smoothly again.
Your foot consists of a network of veins that pumps blood back to the heart. And similar to leg veins, if the veins in your feet fail to push blood back to the heart effectively, you’ll experience the distressing symptoms of poor circulation, such as cold feet, spider and varicose veins, and venous ulcers.
Other signs of poor circulation include pain, swelling, numbness, and “pins and needles” in the feet. Fortunately, poor circulation in the feet is a highly treatable condition.
What causes poor circulation in the feet?
Poor circulation in the feet isn’t a stand-alone condition. Instead, it’s a symptom of an underlying disorder, such as:
Venous insufficiency. Your veins transport blood back to the heart with the help of tiny valves. When those valves lose elasticity and strength, they allow blood to pool in the vein, which leads to a vascular disorder known as venous insufficiency. Spider and varicose veins are common effects of venous insufficiency, as are pain, cramping, and a feeling of heaviness.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD). Your feet and legs contain arteries and veins, which can become clogged with plaque that restricts circulation. Notable PAD symptoms include pain, numbness, and tingling in the feet.
Blood clots. Poor circulation in the feet can lead to a blood clot that causes swelling, pain, and a warm sensation on the skin. Immediate treatment is necessary to stop the clot from traveling to the lungs, which can lead to a potentially deadly pulmonary embolism.
Diabetes. Like plaque, high blood sugar levels restrict blood flow in the blood vessels, which often leads to slow-healing sores on the feet. Neuropathy, or a lack of sensation in the feet, is also a side effect of diabetes.
Raynauld’s disease. Affecting between three to five percent of the adult population, Raynauld’s disease restricts circulation in the extremities, particularly in colder temperatures. Patients of Raynauld’s disease often report their feet feeling cold, numb, and tingly. The skin may also turn blue as blood drains from the veins.
The best treatments for poor circulation in the feet
A certified vein specialist can diagnose the exact cause of poor foot circulation. From there, they can determine the proper course of treatment. Depending on the underlying condition, therapy typically can involve the following:
Exercise. The best way to boost circulation is to exercise, and it doesn’t have to be an hour-long workout in the gym. A brisk 30-minute walk daily helps the calf muscles pump blood through the veins. A good stretch of the muscles also promotes efficient circulation.
Eat right. Foods high in vitamins D, C, and E, flavonoids, and omega-3 fatty acids strengthen your veins. Opt for green, leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, and whole grains, and avoid heavily processed foods laden with fats and sodium. Drink plain water to stay hydrated.
Take your medications. Diabetes and Raynauld’s disease can be controlled with medication. Talk to your doctor about blood thinners if you’re prone to blood clots.
Quit smoking. Artery-clogging tobacco can lead to PAD, so quitting cigarettes is in your best interest. Talk to your doctor about a smoking cessation program.
Explore surgical options. Discuss outpatient treatment with a vascular surgeon if poor circulation in your feet is due to venous insufficiency or varicose veins. Several minimally invasive surgical options can restore blood flow by destroying the diseased vein. These procedures are performed during an office visit that takes an hour or less.
See the vein specialists in New Hampshire
Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) operates two full-service vein clinics in New Hampshire. Normand Miller, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT, a board-certified vascular surgeon with years of experience treating vein disorders, can improve your circulation using various proven treatments. If you’re experiencing symptoms of poor circulation in the feet, Dr. Miller can develop a custom treatment plan to relieve your discomfort.
Contact him today for an evaluation of your veins.
Don't live near our New Hampshire CVR vein clinic locations? No problem! With over 100 vein clinic locations in 22 states and the District of Columbia, there's sure to be a CVR vein center near you.
410 Amherst Street, Suite 200
Nashua, NH 03063
224 Main Street, Suite 1-D
Salem, NH 03079