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Bad Circulation in Feet

Bad circulation can be triggered due to hardening of the arteries. Read on to find out more about the symptoms, causes and treatment of this circulatory disorder.
Atherosclerosis is derived from the Greek words athero which means gruel, and sclerosis which means hardness. Atherosclerosis leads to poor circulation in one's feet. Atherosclerosis is a process in which 'plaque' gets deposited in the arteries thus causing blockage of the arteries. The plaque is composed of calcium, cholesterol, fats and cellular wastes which get accumulated in the inner walls of arteries. Plaques keep on developing and lead to problems. When these plaques rupture, they initiate formation of blood clots which impede blood flow. These plaques can spread to other parts of the body.

Effects of Poor Blood Circulation

Poor blood circulation in the heart arteries initiates chest pain, also referred to as angina. The person feels squashing pain in the chest. This can lead to a heart attack. Atherosclerosis in the arteries which supply blood to the brain can cause a transient ischemic attack. It's also termed as a mini stroke. It can cause fatigue, impaired vision and confusion. Peripheral artery disease is triggered if the arteries supplying blood to the arms and legs get choked up due to atherosclerosis. When the legs and feet don't receive the quantity of blood necessary for their functioning, it results in symptoms such as cramps and weariness in the feet, buttocks or legs, during the movements of these body parts. The cramps subside on taking rest and resume on starting any activity again. Inflammation and aches are observed in the feet and legs. The person may also experience symptoms like cold feet and numbness. The temperature lowers down in the legs and feet as compared to the other body parts. The answer is 'peripheral vascular disease' also known as PVD. Arteries are blood vessels taking the blood away from the heart and the veins are the blood vessels taking the blood to the heart. When the functioning of these arteries and vessels gets disturbed due to atherosclerosis, it causes poor circulation in feet. Poor leg circulation can lead to blood clots, causing acute pain in the legs. This may trigger the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

How to Improve Circulation in your Feet

Adequate blood flow is the key to the sound functioning of different parts of our body.
  • Rubdown on Feet: A massage on the feet and leg muscles warms up the muscles and improves blood circulation in these body parts. Taking a warm bath and stretching also helps to improve blood circulation in legs and feet.
  • Regular Exercises: Aerobic Exercises, which stress more on lower body parts, such as walking, dancing and biking are a few of the best leg exercises to get rid of circulation problems in the lower body parts such as the legs and feet. Simple exercises such as lifting the toes with the heels on the floor and then lifting the heels with the toes on the floor, and making circles with your feet which helps in twisting the ankles are a few of the exercises to improve circulation in feet. Repeat these exercises 6 - 8 times. Wearing shoes which cushion your feet properly is also advised.
  • Quit Smoking: Blood circulation improves within a few weeks of quitting smoking.
  • Maintain Cholesterol Levels: Avoid food with high cholesterol content. A normal cholesterol diet menu should be followed.
  • Use Bed Wedge: Using therapeutic equipment such as a bed wedge helps as it adjusts your legs in a position which is very helpful for improving circulation.
It is best to consult your doctor immediately on spotting the above symptoms. Following a healthy diet and daily exercises would definitely help in rectifying poor circulatory disorders. Stay fit and live well!
By Amigo G
Last Updated: 10/12/2011
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