The body’s circulatory system is responsible for carrying blood, oxygen and nutrients to the cells, and for removing waste products and toxins. Our circulatory system has been intelligently created to travel in one direction to ensure that cells are properly nourished, and everything unwanted and no longer needed is eliminated. If this process is interrupted and the circulatory system struggles to pump the blood through the body, it will cause blood flow to slow and have a serious impact on your health.
Since the feet are the furthest away from the heart, the central control station for your circulatory system, they will be the first to be impacted, which is why we see symptoms of circulation problems in the feet first.
If you suspect you have poor circulation in your feet, then it is important to speak with a health professional and find out if there are any underlying health concerns. Please call us at the clinic to make an appointment.
Common causes for poor circulation
PAD – The most common cause for poor circulation is PAD or Peripheral Artery Disease. PAD causes the blood vessels to become narrow making it harder for the blood to pump through freely.
Blood clots – blood clots are another common cause of poor circulation in the feet. They cause obstruction to the blood flow, slowing down the circulatory system and they can also cause pain if they occur in the legs. This can be a dangerous condition and is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It can travel to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism.
Varicose veins – varicose veins are caused when the valves in the veins start to deteriorate or the vein walls are weakened or damaged, and blood pools in the veins.
Diabetes – diabetes can cause poor circulation with cramps in the feet, calves and thighs.
Symptoms of poor circulation
Numbness and tingling – the most common symptom of poor circulation is numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. If enough blood cannot reach the extremities, it can feel like pins and needles.
Cold hands and feet – a slower blood flow causes the hands and feet to feel the cold much more.
Swelling in the feet and ankles – when the circulatory system slows it can cause stagnation of fluid which collects in areas such as the feet and ankles. The circulatory system doesn’t have the strength to pump the fluid through the body which can result in swelling.
Fatigue and tiredness – a drop in blood flow around the body can cause tiredness and mental fatigue.
Muscle cramping – if the blood cannot deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and joints properly, this can cause painful cramps.
Skin discolouration – if the blood is not able to reach specific areas of the body, these areas may appear paler.
Treatment – what you can do at home
Exercise – the most effective way to help your circulation is to move your body more. Going for a walk is simple, free and available at any time. Even 15 minutes a day is enough to improve circulation and heart health.
Eat a healthy diet – a diet rich in nutrients will carry good quality supplies throughout your body, and it will support the circulatory system to flow and to eliminate toxins more effectively.
Stop smoking – smoking causes blood vessels to harden from plaque lining the walls so this slows down circulation.
Elevate legs – elevate your legs above your heart for 10-15 minutes a day. This stimulates the circulatory systems and reduces swelling, and it’s an opportunity to take a few minutes to relax.
Use compression stockings – these are effective in reducing the incidence of swelling and blood clots. Use them especially when flying.
Make an appointment with our experienced and knowledgeable podiatry team
If you have any concerns with about your feet and poor circulation, please phone us at the clinic and make an appointment. We’ll help you with manual therapy, footwear advice and other supportive measures to assist in improving circulation and reducing aches, pains, and swelling.