Updated: Aug 31
You may be surprised to know that certain symptoms in your feet and lower limbs can warn you of a potential loss of life or limb. Public Health England collate information that continues to show that heart disease is the number 1 cause of mortality in the general population not just in the UK but worldwide.
Peripheral Arterial Disease is a condition where over time arteries start to see a build-up of plaque. This build up of plaque in the arteries will eventually lead to blockages in the blood flow. If Peripheral Arterial Disease is left untreated, it can lead to amputations heart attacks and stroke.
Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease to be aware of are:
1. Absent or Weak Foot Pulses. If the blood flow through an artery on top of the foot (Dorsalis Pedis) and one at the ankle (Posterior Tibial) is low or restricted a test carried out by a podiatrist will show a weak or absent pulse.
2. Cramping in the Calves When Walking. When the muscles in the legs do not get sufficient blood supply due to blockage in the arteries, a cramping pain can occur. The pain known as intermittent claudication typically
goes away once you stop walking and rest your legs.
3. Cold Feet, A podiatrist is trained to look for variations in the colour, texture and integrity of your skin which may indicate that your blood supply to the feet is impaired.
4. Slow-healing Wounds on feet and toes. Wounds need a number of healing components from the blood. With poor blood flow, it can take longer for wounds to heal.
5. Loss of hair on Feet or Toes. Little or no hair growth on feet and toes can be an indicator of poor blood flow. In order for hair to grow, sufficient blood circulation needs to occur within the skin of the lower limbs and feet.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is very important that you do not ignore them. Have your podiatrist check your circulation. A diagnosis of poor circulation can put your feet at risk if you have thickened or ingrowing toenails, corns and hard skin.
An assessment of your feet can also tell you a lot about your heart health.
Today is St Valentine’s Day the day of love. Fall back in love with your feet by having your podiatrist carry out a thorough and medically recognised inspection.