The heart is a powerful organ pumping on average 7000 litres of blood through our bodies each day. If the heart’s pumping ability weakens, either through ageing or another health condition, the feet will feel it first.
The heart must push the blood down to the feet, which are furthest away from the heart, and then bring it up against gravity to circulate it around the body again. This is why the feet can tell us so much about your overall health, especially your heart health.
When the heart begins struggling to circulate the blood around the body, blood flow slows down, and cholesterol can build up in the arteries and cause peripheral artery disease (PAD) which affects the hands and feet – the extremities.
This condition can cause pain and loss of feeling in the legs and feet. Other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and hereditary conditions can also affect the heart, and therefore your feet.
Here are symptoms to look out for:
Ulcers or non-healing wounds – if blood flow is not adequately providing oxygen and nutrients to stimulate new cell growth due to conditions such as peripheral arterial disease, this will slow down the healing of wounds or cause persistent ulcers.
Cold feet – if you often have cold feet which are difficult to warm up, this could be an indication of restricted blood circulation, especially if one leg is colder than the other.
Swelling – swelling and numbness are an indication of poor circulation which may be caused by restricted blood flow to the legs and feet.
Loss of feeling – peripheral arterial disease can cause a loss of feeling or numbness in the lower legs and the feet.
Reduced hair growth – slow growth of hair and nails are both a symptom of peripheral arterial disease and reduced circulation due to other health conditions.
Cramps – if you experience regular cramps in your lower legs and feet, you may have peripheral arterial disease. If you notice that cramping happens after exercise, this is caused by the heart having to pump the blood more vigorously through the arteries.
The feet are an excellent indicator of your overall health, as circulatory and other conditions will often show up here first. If you suspect you might be experiencing any of the symptoms above, call the clinic and have your feet checked by our professional and knowledgeable podiatrists.
Sanders Podiatry is located in Stirling, Mt Barker, and Linden Park
Our family-friendly podiatry clinics welcome all ages with a wide range of conditions.
We use a variety of therapies including exercise programs, strapping, dry needling, mobilisation, orthotics, and ongoing advice and education. Our podiatrists provide general foot care, including routine skin and nail management, as well as diabetes assessments and education.
Please phone us and make an appointment at one of our clinics below: