Cold Feet and Poor Circulation 101
At some point everyone has had literal cold feet. While this is a normal occurrence when it’s only every so often and you can trace the cause back to an external factor, like the weather, when cold feet becomes a normal condition for you it’s time to start looking deeper. Having cold feet is just one of many symptoms to the most common feet problem: poor circulation. Other symptoms include loss of sensation, pain, skin color changes and numbness. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a couple days and you can’t pinpoint a reason for them you should visit a chiropodist, commonly known as a foot specialist.
Poor blood circulation in the feet can be caused for a number of reasons. There are a number of serious diseases and serious health conditions that have poor blood circulation as a key symptom so in order to be safe, visit a doctor. Some of these diseases and conditions are:
- Peripheral artery disease
- Blood clots
- Varicose veins
- Raynaud’s disease
Having poor blood circulation in the feet doesn’t immediately mean you have any of these more serious health issues, but you should be aware that having poor blood circulation can indicate a deeper underlying problem such as diabetes, which is cause for immediate consultation with a physician to identify and address any concerns early such as diabetic foot issues.
For many people poor blood circulation can be linked back to:
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Sitting down for too long every day
You’ll notice that all of these causes are treatable in one way or another. If you smoke, you can quit. If you eat junk food all the time, you can start eating better. If you haven’t exercised for years, you can start. If you visit your doctor and they conclude that your poor blood circulation is due to one of these reasons, the only way to truly get back your circulation is to address it.
Now that you have a general idea of what underlying problem might be causing your poor blood circulation here are some of the symptoms you might be experiencing that lead back to it:
- Stinging pain
- Muscle cramps
- Skin color change
- General loss of sensation
- Being unusually tired
Notice that none of these symptoms are specific to the feet, but can occur anywhere on the body. However, extremities like the feet and hands are the usual spots you will experience these symptoms because the blood vessels are smaller the further away from the center of body they go and this makes the symptoms more acute.
While it’s critically important to deal with the underlying cause of poor blood circulation, you do have a number of ways you can relieve yourself of the symptoms in the meantime. For the feet especially there are several products out there and things you can do that will help temporarily improve blood circulation.
In terms of things you can actually buy compression socks, custom orthotics and specialty shoes are the most readily available at foot clinics. Compression socks work to improve blood flow by putting pressure on the leg helping to push blood back up to your heart. Lastly, buying a water bottle and drinking more water every day will help improve your blood flow.
Exercise is another way to get your blood flowing to your extremities. Consistent exercise will help blood flow even when you are not actually exercising, so keeping up with a long-term exercise plan is the best way to go. Stretching is a part of any good exercise routine, but stretching on its own also improves blood flow. Taking up Yoga might be an option if you want a non-strenuous exercise activity that combines stretching as well. Yoga is known for its many health benefits including improving blood circulation.
If you need an excuse to get a massage here it is: massages will also help improve circulation. Specifically going for any one of these types of massages: leg, deep tissue, Swedish, Pfrimmer or manual lymphatic drainage. All of these massages work in various ways to relax constricted muscles and improve circulation.
Finally, hydrotherapy may help you. Hydrotherapy includes a wide range of exercises, massages and treatments that involve being in water. Hydrotherapy treatments improve circulation through using the natural properties of water like temperature and pressure to improve circulation.
As with any health related information found online, it is best you see a doctor or in this case a chiropodist to get a tailored treatment plan for yourself and to make sure there is nothing more serious such as diabetes happening underneath the surface.