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What is Poor Circulation

Poor circulation in the feet can have devastating consequences when left untreated. Dr. Herman explains below the signs of poor circulation in the feet and what can be done to treat the resulting issues, such as diabetic foot ulcers. 

What Causes Poor Circulation in the Feet?

There can be many causes of poor circulation in one’s feet. The most common cause relates to diseases of the blood vessel, which is usually manifested as peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD can be a result of someone having a long smoking history, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Other diseases of the blood vessels and circulation issues, such as Raynaud’s disease, can cause poor circulation in the feet. Occasionally, people with venous insufficiency can also suffer from poor circulation.

What are the Symptoms of Poor Circulation?

If someone has poor circulation in their feet, they may not have any symptoms. Patients who develop symptoms related to poor circulation in the feet can suffer from the pain of the toes, the pain of the feet, or pain or cramping upon walking, specifically in their calves or in the back of their thighs, which would usually be relieved by rest. Other symptoms include discoloration and numbness. Poor circulation also affects patients who have diabetes, causing diabetic foot ulcers on the feet. 

How Would You Know If You Had Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

For anyone with diabetes or poor circulation, it is very important to regularly have their feet checked, either by themselves, family members, or by medical professionals. The earliest signs of the development of ulceration and diabetic foot ulcers include the development of a red crater in the patient’s skin. This could be present by the toes, on the bottom, or the top of the feet, and it’s often seen at a place of friction as well. This red crater ulcer will also be affected by a border of thickening and calloused skin in the early stages.

What are Treatment Options for Diabetic Foot Ulcers?

There are many treatment options for diabetic foot ulcers, and it is a multifaceted approach, beginning with the patient and their family, physicians, and other caregivers. In the early stages, it is important for patients to watch their blood sugar. Their blood sugar and the hemoglobin A1c test, which is really a record of how the blood sugar has been over the past several months, is a very key indicator in how to help heal diabetic foot ulcers. 

Diet and glucose control are number one, but other treatment options include: 

  • Ensuring that the area and pressure points that may have caused an ulcer are kept free of further pressure is crucial in preventing ulcer formation from worsening.
  • Offloading, or not wearing a certain type of footwear, is one method that can be effective in preventing ulcers.
  • Wound care is another key aspect of the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and includes dressing, debridement, certain types of creams, skin substitutes, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. 
  • It is also vital to address any possible infection, usually with a systemic type of antibiotic, either oral or intravenous. 

At the same time, the patient should be seen by a vascular specialist who can identify any arterial flow problems or any venous drainage problems that may require some form of treatment.

Request an Appointment with Dr. Herman 

If you’re experiencing poor circulation, request an appointment with Dr. Herman at our NJ Endovascular & Amputation Prevention for expert care. You can also request an appointment with one of our other affiliated vascular specialists at our NY, NJ, and OH locations.

Learn more about vascular health, prevention, and care for Peripheral Artery Disease.

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