Monday, March 25, 2024

How To Improve Poor Circulation In The Feet

The body transports blood, oxygen, and nutrients to cells around the body through the circulatory system. If blood vessels in an area close, harden, or narrow, a person may develop reduced circulation.

Poor circulation in the feet can cause the feet to become cold, discolored, or numb. Cold weather or an underlying condition, such as Raynaud’s disease, can cause it.

People with poor circulation may notice their feet feel cold or numb. They may also notice discoloration. The feet may turn red, blue, purple, or white.

These symptoms may worsen in certain situations, such as when a person sits still for long periods or goes outside in cold weather. However, for some people, these symptoms may be constant or flare up due to an underlying condition.

Additional symptoms of poor circulation can include:

  • dry or cracked skin
  • hair loss on the legs or feet
  • weak toenails
  • slow wound healing 

Underlying Causes Of Poor Circulation In The Feet

Raynaud‘s disease
Raynaud’s disease syndrome causes blood vessels to narrow when someone is cold or, sometimes, when stressed. This limits the amount of blood flowing to the fingers and toes. RarelyTrusted Source, it may affect other areas, such as the nose and ears.

The symptoms include:
  • fingers or toes turning white or blue
  • cold extremities
  • pain
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • a burning sensation
These symptoms can last as little as 1 minute or as long as several hours.

Most people with Raynaud’s disease have the primary form of the condition. Some people have secondary Raynaud’s, which occurs due to another illness. Secondary Raynaud’s tends to be more severe.

There is no cure for Raynaud’s, but it is possible to reduce the symptoms and potentially reduce the frequency of attacks with medical treatment and lifestyle changes.

Acrocyanosis is a condition that causes the extremities, such as the toes, to turn blue. This occurs when the blood vessels constrict, preventing blood flow and oxygen from moving through that part of the body.

It is a rare conditionTrusted Source that is similar to Raynaud’s phenomenon. The main symptoms include:
  • blue-tinged fingers or toes
  • cold, clammy skin
  • swelling
  • a typical pulse
As with Raynaud’s, there are two types of acrocyanosis: primary and secondary. Primary acrocyanosis occurs on its own and typically affects both sides of the body, for example, both feet. Further research is necessary to understand the cause.

Secondary acrocyanosis often affects only one side of the body and can beTrusted Source a result of many conditions, including eating disorders, blood disorders, and genetic conditions.

If a person has diabetes, they are at riskTrusted Source of blood vessel damage. This may happen if they experience high blood glucose levels for extended periods.

If a person with diabetes does not receive any treatment, they could develop reduced circulation in the feet, as well as foot ulcers that do not heal.

Managing diabetes effectively can help prevent foot problems. People with diabetes should receive an annual foot examination to ensure they do not have poor circulation, ulcers, or neuropathy.

Arteriosclerosis occurs when the arteries harden, and blood cannot travel through them easily.

Some people with arteriosclerosis exhibit no symptoms, while others may develop some. The symptoms vary depending on which arteries the condition affects and may include:
  • pressure in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • irregular heartbeat
  • weakness
  • problems with breathing
  • confusion
  • dizziness
Treatment for arteriosclerosis may include medication, such as medication to control a person’s cholesterol or surgery to open blocked arteries or remove plaque buildup.

Peripheral artery disease
If left untreated, arteriosclerosis can turn into peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD occurs when plaque builds up in arteries. This can reduce or even stopTrusted Source blood flow, resulting in tissue death and potentially amputation.

Symptoms may include:
  • leg pain
  • weakness in the legs
  • leg cramping
  • toenails not growing
  • a pale or blue foot
Prescription medication can improve symptoms in people with reduced circulation. In more severe cases, a person may require surgery.

How to improve circulation at home
The best way to improve foot circulation is to treat any underlying conditions that may be causing it. If doctors cannot pinpoint a cause, however, several self-care strategies may help.

People can try:
  • Move more: A 2020 studyTrusted Source found that simple leg stretches can help improve vascular function after 12 weeks. The stretching regime made arteries less stiff, helping them dilate. If sitting for a long time, set reminders to get up and move around.
  • Massage: Massaging the feet can stimulate circulation. People with Raynaud’s may also find it helps prevent or shorten attacks.
  • Relaxation techniques: Breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and tai chi can help manage unavoidable stress.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol can constrict blood vessels and exacerbateTrusted Source Raynaud’s.
  • Wear compression socks: Compression socks apply pressure to the legs and feet, forcing blood to travel back toward the heart.
  • Stay warm: If circulation problems worsen in cold conditions, keep the home at a comfortable temperature and wrap up in layers. Use hand or foot warmers when necessary.

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