Poor circulation in the feet or legs is commonly called Peripheral vascular disease. The most common cause of this hardening of the arteries in which gradual thickening of the walls of the arteries occurs. The arteries are what brings blood to the extremities from the heart. Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral vascular disease.
Some of symptoms that occur are dull cramping pain in the calf muscle that comes after walking a certain distance and is relieved by rest. This is called Claudication. Also, numbness or tingling in the foot, or toes can occur. Changes in the color and temperature of the skin can occur. This can also lead to skin breakdowns and ulcers that have difficulty healing. The cause is blocking of the arteries in the leg called athersclerosis. Those with diabetes are more likely to develop poor circulation to the foot. Other risk factors for developing poor circulation include a lack of physical activity, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The biggest effect of poor circulation on the foot are ulcers or wounds. These develop and do not heal as well as they should. In many cases they do not heal at all without special care. The reason for this is that the blood carries oxygen that promote healing to these wounds or ulcers.
The treatment can be good control of the blood glucose level is very important if diabetes is present. Increasing activity and eating a balanced healthy diet can improve circulation promote health as well. Drugs can be used to prevent the blood clotting (antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants). Procedures such as, Angioplasty, can be used to enlarge the narrowed arteries. Another procedure can be moving a vein from another part of the body and using it to bypass the narrow or blocked artery. There is a lot you can do to help yourself if you have poor circulation. Follow your doctor’s advice about foot care and footwear fitting. Foot care for those with diabetes it is extremely important.
Podiatric management of those with peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation) should include a complete evaluation and assessment of the status of the circulation to the foot and communication to you about the risk that the foot is at for complications developing. Advice on foot care and fitting footwear are extremely important! Taking care of toenail, corns, calluses and other foot conditions and also management of any wounds, sores, infections that may develop as the result of poor circulation.