Everyone has experienced the feeling of a foot “falling asleep” due to a lack of circulation. While it may cause an uncomfortable “pins and needles” sensation while blood returns to the tissues in your foot, the condition is usually short-lived. But for people with chronic circulation problems, symptoms could go far beyond discomfort—and may cause severe injuries that result in the loss of a foot.
Poor Circulation Puts Your Feet at Risk
Poor circulation can cause problems throughout the body, but the feet are especially vulnerable because they are furthest from the heart. This makes the feet the likeliest place for symptoms to arise, and also the limbs at greatest risk for injuries.
Patients with diabetes and peripheral artery disease often suffer circulation trouble in the feet and legs that can lead to:
- Skin problems. Poor circulation can cause skin to become cracked and dry, increasing the risk of foot ulcers. Once the skin is broken, low blood flow to the area prevents these wounds from healing normally, giving infections a chance to set in and spread.
- Neuropathy. Just as blocked circulation can cause temporary numbness in the feet, it can cause chronic numbness in people who are suffering from neuropathy. This is a serious problem for people whose ability to heal has been compromised, since it can prevent them from feeling the injury in the first place, making it harder to get timely treatment.
- Loss of a limb. The blood traveling through your veins provides the oxygen and nutrients that the tissues in your limbs need to survive. Without proper blood flow, the cells in your legs and feet may weaken and eventually die, causing tissue death known as gangrene. Once gangrene has set in, there may be no way to reverse the condition—but healthy tissue may be preserved by amputation.
If you have persistent numbness in your feet, the specialists at Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry have state-of-the-art treatments to improve circulation and prevent injuries before they occur. Simply fill out our online contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET to set up your first visit.