Poor circulation in legs and feet is a precursor to all kinds of problems. In the early stages, these might be categorized as “irritating” or “disruptive”—think cold feet, tingling, dizziness, or muscle cramps. Left untreated or unaddressed, though, the consequences become drastically more serious. Tissues can rot and die (gangrene) due to not getting enough nutrients or oxygen. Minor cuts are more likely to become seriously infected. Your risk of heart attack and stroke spikes significantly.
It’s vitally important, then, that you keep the blood pumping out to the farthest reaches of your feet and toes. Strategies that can help you boost your circulation—or at least keep it from getting worse—include the following:
- Get plenty of exercise. Physical fitness helps make your circulatory system stronger and more efficient.
- Eat a healthy diet. Especially avoid too much sugar, which can cause inflammation and impair circulation and nerve health whether you have a formal diabetes diagnosis or not.
- Even if you’re otherwise fit or healthy, avoid sitting in one place for long periods of time. If you work a desk job, make sure you wiggle your feet and toes and stretch throughout the day, and take regular breaks to get up and move around—even for just a few minutes every hour.
- If you smoke, do whatever it takes to quit as soon as possible.
- Wear compression socks. The pressure from these garments helps blood pump faster in and out of the legs, improves blood vessel valve efficiency, and can reduce swelling, aching, and other problems.
- Get tested for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Take steps to ensure these remain within a healthy range, whether through medications, lifestyle modifications, or both.
The telltale symptoms of poor circulation don’t always become apparent until significant damage to your blood vessels has already occurred. Fortunately, the team at Advanced Foot and Ankle can provide circulatory testing, as well as both preventative and active treatment options for a wide variety of circulatory conditions. To schedule an appointment with us in either Twin Falls or Burley, please call (208) 731-6321 today.