Having adequate circulation to your legs and feet are extremely important for good foot health. There are two main arteries that supply the foot. One leads down the back of the leg and supplies the bottom of your foot and toes, the other on the front of your leg which gives circulation to the top of the foot and toes. Just like any artery in your body, if they become stiff or filled with plaque, you will not receive the proper amount of blood flow to function properly. This could manifest itself by developing thin, shiny, hairless skin to your legs and feet. You may also begin to develop cramping in your legs with walking or at rest. Some people with poor circulation may develop pain in the feet that only goes away if their feet are dangling off the bed at night. Ultimately, if you lose circulation to your feet you could develop gangrene which requires amputation. There is a very simple test that can be performed to evaluate your arteries in the lower extremity called an Arterial Doppler. This test involves placing and inflating blood pressure cuffs on your legs. A Doppler ultrasound is then used to measure the amplitude of the blood flow. Both this and the blood pressure reading help us determine if there are any locations in the lower extremity that could be blocked and causing decreased blood flow. If your Arterial Doppler is abnormal, you would be referred to a Vascular Surgeon who may need to perform a procedure to improve your circulation to your lower extremities. People who are at a higher risk of developing circulation issues are diabetics, smokers, and those with high blood pressure and cholesterol.
The key to preventing any serious complications from poor circulation is early detection. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or would like to be evaluated for poor circulation please call us for an appointment and one of our providers would be happy to evaluate you.