Blood Flow to Your Feet
Circulation to your legs and feet is what keeps them healthy and alive. Without efficient blood flow, your feet are at significantly higher risk of all sorts of problems. That can include physical pain (although it doesn’t always). More importantly, it means greater risk of developing wounds and infections—which in severe cases may need to be amputated.
What’s the best way to avoid this kind of outcome?
Circulation in your feet and legs is easy to check, it’s totally non-invasive, and every insurance provider covers it. This is a very simple yet extremely important way that the Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma can keep you safe and active. There’s no reason not to get it done.
Peripheral Artery Disease: A Silent Threat
Poor circulation in the legs and feet is known as peripheral artery disease, or more commonly just PAD. Here are some shocking stats you might not be aware of:
- About 8.5 million Americans have PAD, including as many as 1 in 5 seniors over age 60.
- If you have diabetes or a history of smoking, your risk is much
- About 40% of people with PAD have no pain or obvious symptoms. That means your feet may be in severe danger without you even knowing about it.
Those that do have pain with PAD may experience intermittent, painful cramping throughout their hips, thighs, and calves—especially after walking. Other common complications include:
- Nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy. Nerves that don’t get the nutrients they need can become damaged and lose their ability to send and receive signals to the brain.
- Foot ulcers. The combination of neuropathy and poor circulation greatly increases the risk of developing non-healing or slow-healing foot wounds. Those that get infected may pose serious health risks, or even need to be amputated. This is especially problematic for diabetics.
- Falls. Your muscles use blood and oxygen. As we get older and less active, our circulation worsens and this may lead to weak muscles. Weakness leads to falls.
Testing Your Circulatory Health Is Simple, Painless, and Covered by Insurance
Since PAD isn’t always obvious from the symptoms alone, regular testing of your circulation is crucial, especially if you have any of the risk factors for the condition.
Fortunately, this is something we can do easily for you right from the comfort of our office. At the Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma, we make circulatory testing and evaluation an easy and convenient part of your exam—you won’t find these types of resources in your average podiatry office.
Our clinic is equipped with a device called a doppler ultrasound, also known as an arterial doppler. The technology is essentially the same as the ultrasounds that obstetricians use to examine babies before they are born.
The ultrasound allows us to get a clear image of how your circulatory system is functioning, and identify any spots where the blood flow is being blocked or restricted.
Who Should Get Tested?
Because circulatory problems are common in middle aged and older adults—even healthy ones—we incorporate circulatory testing using our advanced in-office diagnostic tools into our routine exams.
Additionally, we strongly recommend that you make an appointment with our office for a circulatory screening if you find yourself in any of the following categories:
- Over 65 years old (even if you have no obvious signs of health problems)
- Over 50 years old and have diabetes, a history of smoking, and/or a family history of PAD.
- Are experiencing any of the symptoms of PAD (regardless of your age).
Comprehensive Care for Circulatory Health
Once we detect the signs of poor circulation or diagnose any specific conditions, we can then help you build a comprehensive treatment plan.
In most cases you can improve blood flow, or at least slow or stop the progression of damage—but it’s extremely important to take action as early as possible.
Healthy lifestyle changes are an important factor in almost any comprehensive treatment approach. Eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, and controlling underlying causes (such as blood sugar / diabetes) are critical.
Beyond that, our office may provide medical treatment options depending on the nature and severity of your circulatory conditions. These include everything from medications to compression stockings to physical therapy exercises to (only when needed) surgery.
Let the team at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma help you keep the blood flowing to your feet and ankles! To schedule an appointment with us at our Oklahoma City office please call (405) 418-2676.
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