Do I really have poor circulation in my feet?
It isn’t always easy to notice the warning signs of bad circulation. After all, it’s normal to feel a lack of sensation in your feet during cold winter days or to notice some aching and tiredness when standing for long periods of time; however, signs of poor circulation in the feet include:
- A “pins and needles” sensation in your feet
- Changes in the color of your feet
- Cold feet
- Numbness or tingling
What causes poor circulation in the feet?
There are many reasons that people may develop poor circulation in their feet as they get older. Some causes can’t be helped but others are due to health conditions or bad habits. Causes of poor circulation include:
- Age: As we get older most people will deal with some degree of decreased blood flow.
- Inactive lifestyle: If you lead a sedentary lifestyle you are more likely to deal with blood flow issues, especially as you get older. We see this most often in seniors who have mobility issues and can’t stay active.
- Overweight or obese: Being overweight or obese also puts a lot of stress on the body, causing the heart to work harder to pump out blood to the rest of the body including the feet.
- Smoking: Smoking restricts blood flow, which makes it more difficult for blood to reach the feet. Smoking can also increase your risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and peripheral artery disease (PAD).
- Diabetes: Diabetes can increase your risk for inflammation, poor circulation, and even nerve damage in the feet (known as neuropathy). You must work with your doctor and a podiatrist to control your blood sugar to reduce your risk.
- Pain at the ball of the foot near the big toe
- Pain when bending or straightening the big toe
- Pain that comes up gradually
How is sesamoiditis treated?
The good news is that this inflammatory condition can be treated with rest and home care designed to ease the inflamed tendon or muscle. At-home care for sesamoiditis looks like:
- Avoiding any activities that put pressure on the foot
- Taking a pain reliever such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
- Wearing supportive shoes with ample cushioning
- Applying ice to the foot for 10-15 minutes every few hours
- Avoiding shoes with pointed toes or high heels
If you are experiencing severe or persistent foot pain, you must seek podiatry care from a qualified foot and ankle specialist. Foot pain should not go ignored. Call your podiatrist today.
Clean Feet Daily
It’s easy for our feet, just like the rest of our bodies, to pick up bacteria and fungus. Washing your feet with soap and water every day can help to remove these germs to prevent infections. Just remember to always dry your feet off thoroughly after bathing to reduce your risk for fungal infections. While you can do this at any time of the night, bathing and washing your feet in the evening could help you relax prior to bedtime.
Keep Feet Moisturized
You may notice that as you get older your skin also gets drier. While staying hydrated will certainly help to keep skin supple and moisturized, it’s also a good idea to apply a moisturizer to your feet to prevent cracking or broken skin (which can lead to infection). Once you’ve applied moisturizer to the feet it’s a good idea to cover the feet with socks made from breathable material such as cotton.
Trim Nails Properly
If you neglect to trim nails regularly you may find that long nails are prone to fungal infections and ingrown toenails. If you are able to trim nails yourself you will want to trim them so they are level with the tips of the toes (any lower and you could risk an ingrown toenail). Always trim nails straight across, never curve the edges of the nails. If you are having trouble trimming your own nails you can turn to a podiatrist for proper foot care.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
With all the changes that occur to your feet as you get older, it’s particularly important that you wear the proper footwear that will provide additional support and cushioning. It’s also important that you have your feet properly measured (best done in the afternoon when feet are at their largest due to swelling) and shoes fitted by a specialist. If you are dealing with blisters, calluses, and sore feet then you’ll want to talk with your podiatrist about getting different shoes or about getting custom orthotics/arch support.
Fungal infections, bunions and ingrown toenails can appear almost instantly, so having a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular care and treatment can provide you with peace of mind. Talk with your podiatrist about how to keep your aging feet feeling young and healthy.
Moisture, Moisture, Moisture
Need we repeat ourselves? Moisturizer is going to be your feet’s best friend, particularly during the wintertime. It’s time to lather on an emollient-rich moisturizer immediately after stepping out of the shower or tub when your skin is best able to lock in moisture. Hydration is key to preventing dry, cracked skin. Some moisturizing creams also offer other great skin perks such as anti-inflammatory and self-repair properties. If you are particularly prone to dry feet, you may choose to moisturize 2-3 times a day.
One way to keep that dry skin at bay is to use a scrub or a pumice stone on your feet so dry skin doesn’t even have a chance to build up. Make sure to soak your feet in warm water for several minutes to soften the skin before exfoliating. You may choose to do this yourself, or if you have a condition such as diabetes you may want to turn to a podiatry professional to have your feet properly cared for to prevent complications. Using a pumice stone and exfoliating your feet regularly can prevent the development of painful and unsightly calluses.
Don’t Forget Your Toenails
Your poor toenails often get overlooked, especially during the winter months. Don’t get lazy on us! It’s important to keep toenails properly cared for to prevent issues such as ingrown toenails and fungal infections. Make sure that you are clipping your toenails properly. Regularly apply cuticle oil around the nails to help lock in moisture and to strengthen the nails. Don’t have cuticle oil? Coconut oil also works great!
Be kind to your feet this winter. If you have questions or concerns about your feet, it’s important to turn to a podiatrist who can provide you with the care you need.
You are dealing with persistent heel pain
Heel pain is a common complaint and most often the result of an overuse injury such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. The good news is that heel pain will usually go away on its own with rest and home care; however, if the heel pain is severe or persists for weeks without getting better than it’s time to see a podiatrist and find out what’s going on.
You’re dealing with a sprained or fractured foot
If you are dealing with a new foot and ankle injury that you’ve never experienced before, then it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist who will be able to examine it to determine the extent and severity of the sprain or break. Since untreated or improperly treated injuries can lead to long-term foot and ankle pain and instability, it’s a good idea to get proper podiatry care when you sustain an injury.
You have been diagnosed with diabetes
People with diabetes know that they are also at an increased risk for other foot-related complications including neuropathy, ulcers, and infections. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes it’s a good idea to have a podiatrist that you can turn to for regular care, especially when problems arise. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you should still see your podiatrist once a year for a routine checkup.
You’re dealing with regular joint pain and stiffness
While there are many reasons why someone may deal with a bout of joint pain, if this is a persistent problem, you may be dealing with arthritis. Since arthritis is progressive, it’s important to diagnose this problem early when medications and treatments can help to slow the progression of joint damage.
If you are experiencing a foot or ankle injury or experiencing symptoms that have you concerned, it’s best to consult foot care professionals for comprehensive podiatry care.
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