Poor Circulation in Feet Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Many times, circulation problems are most apparent in the lower extremities, particularly in the feet. These problems are a result of the flow of blood being restricted, which makes it more difficult for the vital, nutrient carrying substance to get to where it needs to go. Poor circulation in feet and toes can be caused by many things. Often, circulation problems are a result of health conditions that create a narrowed, thickened or otherwise difficult path for blood to travel through.
One of the most common causes of poor circulation in feet and toes is hypertension or high blood pressure. This condition means that the pressure exerted by blood against the artery walls is higher than normal. There are many causes of hypertension. Smoking and stress are common, as well as underlying health concerns. Along this same vein, another very common cause of poor circulation in the lower extremities is atherosclerosis. Wikipedia explains that atherosclerosis, also commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries, is a result of the buildup of materials in the arteries that are fatty in nature, such as cholesterol and triglycerides. When this occurs, plaques can result, which can further restrict the flow of blood through arteries. Essentially, clogged arteries in the long term can lead to heart attacks, strokes and infarctions.
Symptoms of poor circulation in feet and toes most often present as pain and discomfort, most commonly occurring during exercise. This can also present as cramping and there are other symptoms that may be present as well. A gradual loss of hair on the feet, toes and legs can occur as well and so can a tendency for wounds or sores on the feet to heal more slowly than normal. Sometimes, color changes and an increased sensitivity to cold can also be present when poor circulation in toes and feet exists.
It is important however to note that some symptoms that can be at hand when circulatory challenges are present can occur in other conditions, such as peripheral neuropathy. Pain, sensitivity and numbness can occur in the feet in this disorder which is related to nerve damage, according to Mayo Clinic. These symptoms may be present in other parts of the body as well, although the feet are quite common. As with the signs of poor circulation in feet and toes, it is important to seek prompt medical care when symptoms are evident in the cases of both neuropathy and suspected circulation restriction. This is in order to provide the most rapid diagnosis of cause and therefore begin treatment via various methods.
Medical intervention is essential to the proper long term care of poor blood circulation. This will likely involve varied treatment methods targeted at treating the underlying cause of the circulatory problems. However, there are some home and lifestyle treatment options to consider that can help to aid in the reduction of symptoms associated with reduced foot circulation. One of the most common and simplest treatment options for poor circulation in feet is the utilization of circulation socks, also known as compression garments. Wikipedia explains that their purpose is to increase blood flow via a compressing mechanism of action that prevents blood pooling and can help to relieve symptoms. Another approach to help improving foot circulation is the involvement of massage. Run Addicts, a website devoted to the professional running community, points out that massage can help improve circulation in the lower extremities. Those without a willing pair of hands for soothing foot pampering might consider instead a foot massage machine to use occasionally for symptom relief. And, while exercise can sometimes be associated with some of the unpleasant symptoms of poor circulation in feet and toes, walking can be beneficial to improving blood flow, and is good for the cardiovascular system and overall health as well.
Circulatory problems can be indicative of serious medical conditions and they require the care of a physician to properly diagnose, manage and treat. Identifying early symptoms, eliminating or reducing risk factors like smoking and obesity, and making lifestyle changes including dietary modifications and a healthy and safe exercise plan are all integral parts of making healthful decisions that can contribute to the successful, long term management of conditions that can cause poor circulation in feet, legs and toes. If signs are evident, it is important to schedule an appointment with a doctor to discuss symptoms and risk factors that may be present and indicative of poor blood flow.