The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Suffering from Poor Foot Circulation? Here’s an Overview of Treatment Options

Posted by on Monday, May 2nd, 2016

If you have poor foot circulation, should you see a podiatrist? The short answer is yes. You shouldn’t ignore circulatory problems, as they pose a serious threat to your health and mobility. If you suffer from a condition that affects circulation – like diabetes, C.O.P.D, or hypothyroidism – we may also advise you to see a pulmonary specialist to ensure you’re receiving holistic health care. But a podiatrist can advise you on a wide range of treatments specific to your lower extremities, helping you keep your feet pain-free.

poor foot circulation treatment
Cold feet can be one symptom of poor circulation. (Image Source: Flickr CC user Lisa Dusseault)

Symptoms of Poor Foot Circulation

  • Cold & numbness: Your toes, feet and lower legs might always feel cold, indicating that blood is slower to reach these areas and they may not be receiving enough oxygen or nutrients.
  • Discoloration: Without the oxygen it needs to thrive, your skin can become discolored.
  • Ulcers: With decreased blood flow comes wounds that won’t heal. The danger of ulcers, in particular, is that they can become infected with other pathogens – sometimes even deadly ones.
  • Nerve damage: Diabetics are particularly at risk of nerve damage if circulatory issues are not caught early.
  • Swelling: Swelling may indicate that your body is unable to properly contain fluids within your blood vessels.
  • Nail damage: Impairments to the circulatory system frequently cause changes in nail strength and texture.

Treatments For Poor Foot Circulation

1. Reflexology. What feels better than a good foot massage? Reflexology – the gentle application of specific hand and finger movements – has demonstrated effects on blood-flow throughout the body. Additionally, it’s relaxing and is a natural method of reducing pain – making it a great choice for many of our patients.

2. Healthy Eating. Our holistic approach to circulation includes diet modification. Filling your pantry with healthy, circulation-promoting foods and spices is an easy way to improve your situation.  Limit foods high in fat, bad cholesterol, and salt. Instead, eat lots of fruits and veggies, and stock up on herbs and spices like ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, and gingko biloba. Also, look for foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, olive oil, avocados, and whole grains.

3. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is a relatively new therapy which uses electricity to block pain signals. More research is needed to determine whether TENS therapy will be promising for all patients, but at least one study has found that TENS applied at high intensity decreased calf vascular resistance and improved circulation in participants’ lower extremities.

4. Lifestyle Changes. For a lasting change, start exercising, quit smoking and lose weight. These adjustments aren’t easy, but they have a powerful long-term effect on your circulatory system. Our sports medicine doctors try to lessen your burden by guiding you through a program of strength-training, cardiovascular exercises, and range-of-motion stretches. This type of exercise helps strengthen your heart so it can pump blood to all your body parts. Smoking causes constriction and hardening of the blood vessels and can impair your efforts.

5. Medication. A drug prescription is often the first treatment offered to patients because it’s relatively quick and easy. Pain relievers, blood thinners, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and narcotics are all medications that have been prescribed to treat poor circulation. However, medications may cause unwanted side effects, so your overall health must be considered before a drug regimen is chosen.

6. Foot Cream. HealthiBetic Foot Cream containing arginine is an over-the-counter product that has been proven to boost circulation in the feet. A study published in the January issue of Diabetes Care found that foot blood flow increased 35% with use of the cream, and the temperature of the big toe increased by up to 8 degrees. It’s available on Amazon for $20 a tube, making it one of the more affordable treatment options.

7. Compression Socks. Poor sock choice can hurt your foot circulation if the elastic bands are too tight. On the other hand, specially designed compression socks squeeze the blood vessels and muscles in your lower extremities to create contractions that send blood back to the heart. One downside is that these socks can be difficult to get on, particularly if you have diabetes or other issues. But we can help you find products that work for you.

NYC Podiatrists Address Circulation Concerns

The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC offers a team of specialists and a wide range of tools to help you improve sensation, temperature regulation, and pain levels in your feet. We feature non-invasive therapies like TENS and homeopathic injections, as well as all the usual hallmarks of podiatric care. We work with you to develop a treatment regimen that fits your needs. Contact us to schedule your appointment.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.