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Causes of Poor Foot Circulation

If you are concerned you may have poor foot circulation; it is time to visit a Podiatrist to find out for sure. There are many reasons you could be experiencing symptoms of circulation issues and finding out what is causing the issue will be fundamental to your health and the health of your feet and lower legs. Inadequate circulation indicates that your body is not currently carrying blood to and from your feet effectively.


Poor foot circulation is often a symptom of a more significant problem, but it first needs to be decided if circulation issues are what the patient is experiencing. Some indications of poor circulation are achy legs and feet, sometimes even when resting, cold and clammy feet, tingling, and the feeling of pins and needles in the lower legs and feet, as well as numbness and painful cramping which are all symptoms someone with a circulation problem may experience. Swollen ankles and feet, discolored or blue and red toes, hair loss on the legs and thin, dry, or cracked skin can be symptoms that someone with poor circulation can experience. In the end, poor circulation is almost always a sign of another condition or disease.


#1 Diabetes

People with diabetes often have circulation issues due to the buildup of sugar-based complexes and fat in the blood vessels. Diabetes may also increase inflammation which can cause circulatory constrictions. If circulatory problems are not addressed there can be severe consequences. These include ulcers, gangrene, and even amputation.

#2 Blood clots

One of the biggest signs pointing to blood clots in the legs is circulation problems. Blood clots are vein blockages that keep blood from flowing freely. If blood clots are a possibility, they should be treated immediately as they could lead to pulmonary embolism, heart attack or stroke.

#3 Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease is the presence of hardened, narrowed arteries and veins. It can lead to bad circulation and eventually heart attack or stroke if not treated promptly.

#4 Obesity and pregnancy

Obesity and pregnancy are two other possible causes of poor circulation. Excess weight resulting from obesity or pregnancy weight gain may increase the likelihood of circulation problems due to the weight resting on the veins of the lower extremities. In pregnancy, blood volume increases by 30 to 50% which may make it harder for the body to pump the blood back through itself. People who are obese are also more at risk for diabetes and heart disease, two conditions that cause poor circulation.

#5 Inactivity

Inactivity is a common cause of circulation because the body is not conditioned enough to adequately circulate blood when the person engages in any activity outside of sedentary behavior. This condition is easily improved when movement begins again.

#6 High blood pressure

High blood pressure may also cause atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque and fatty material on the inside of arteries, that makes proper circulation difficult. At the same time, poor circulation from other health issues can cause high blood pressure— creating a vicious cycle.


If you are concerned that you have circulation issues, you should speak to your Podiatrist as soon as possible to decrease the risk of other health complications and to find relief from discomfort. Podiatrists can provide an examination that diagnoses the cause and provides you with timely and accurate treatment options. To learn more about what to do if you have poor foot circulation, schedule an appointment with our office today.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Leonard Greenwald, D.P.M., request an appointment in our San Jose office here: Or call us at (408) 827-9483.

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