When it comes to foot health, it is tough to overstate the importance of circulation. Every body part requires the oxygen and nutrients delivered through the bloodstream, but the feet and toes are the farthest points from the heart. This means blood has the longest path to get down there, even when there aren’t any obstacles in the way. Learning about the various vascular conditions can help you to recognize when there is an issue and what can be done about it.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Peripheral arterial disease is a rather common condition that is caused by the accumulation of plaques (fatty deposits) on the walls of arteries. This accumulation is also known as atherosclerosis and it results in diminished blood flow. PAD can have negative effects on the feet and toes, but atherosclerosis can also put someone at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. The condition often has a symptom knows an intermittent claudication, which is the feeling of pain or discomfort in the legs that is experienced after walking or going up stairs. The sensation will subside with rest.
This particular vascular condition is brought about by stress, excitement, or exposure to cold temperatures (even mild ones). These episodes create a temporary lack of blood supply in such areas as toes and fingertips, which can cause the skin to look bluish or white and either turn numb or cold. In certain instances, Raynaud’s disease is related to an underlying disease.
Buerger’s disease is one of the more mysterious vascular conditions, as no one is particularly sure as to why it happens. What is known, however, is that the condition has an apparent connection to tobacco use and affects the smaller and medium-sized blood vessels. It can cause pain in the feet and legs, whether during activity or at rest and severe circulatory blockages my result in gangrene (tissue death).
Commonly associated with old age, varicose veins are actually damaged valves within veins. They can appear to be swollen, purple, and bulging and tend to be more common in females than males. Varicose veins may be somewhat genetic in nature, as they also often run in families. Pregnancy, obesity, and even standing for prolonged periods are other potential causes.
Blood Clotting Disorders
Disorders that result in blood clotting can be either acquired during life or congenital (present from birth). These conditions make it more likely that blood will form clots within veins and arteries. They may be caused due to elevated levels of fibrinogen, factor 8, and prothrombin (all of which cause clotting) or deficiency of blood-thinning proteins. Abnormal fibrinolysis and changes in blood vessel linings can also be responsible for the abnormal clotting.
The human lymphatic system is a part of the greater circulatory system and includes a network of vessels and nodes to help coordinate the immune system. This is essential in protecting the body against foreign substances. Lymphedema causes a buildup of fluid in the arms and legs and is developed with lymph nodes or vessels are damaged, impaired, removed, or missing. This can cause swollen limbs.
Treatment for Foot and Ankle Circulation Issues in Manalapan, NJ
If you find yourself experiencing any of these vascular conditions, A Step Up Podiatry, LLC, can help. We will start by providing you with a proper diagnosis and then creating a specialized treatment plan that works for you. The first step, though, is to contact us, so give us a call at (732) 446-7136 or fill out our online form to request your appointment at our Manalapan, NJ office today.