What is poor circulation?

Poor circulation is when blood vessels in your legs become hard or narrow. It can cause blood flow to your feet and legs to be reduced or prevent the nutrients and oxygen needed for function from reaching your soft tissues. Poor circulation can also occur when waste products build up in your soft tissues.

If you have poor circulation the skin on your feet and legs becomes thin and dry and you may lose the hair on your legs. Your feet may feel cold and maybe white, blue or red in colour.

Blocked or narrow arteries can cause pain in the calf muscles on walking short distances.

Why is poor circulation a problem?

Poor circulation makes the skin on your feet and legs more prone to injury, infection and ulceration. Healing of skin that has been injured is slow and infection may spread. Pain in your legs may reduce your mobility.

What can I do?

Having a healthy diet and regular exercise as well as stopping smoking will help, as will reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you are diabetic it is important to maintain good blood glucose control.


  • take regular exercise
  • stop smoking
  • inspect your feet regularly to check for redness, cuts
    or injuries
  • wash your feet daily and dry thoroughly, especially
    between your toes
  • try to keep your feet warm during cold weather
  • wear socks of cotton or wool these keep your feet warmer
  • wear your socks inside out so seams do not rub
  • make sure your shoes fit correctly and comfortably with thick warm socks.


  • soak your feet as this will dry and harden your skin
  • put moisturiser between your toes it makes your skin moist and weak
  • use anything sharp on your skin, as injury to your skin may become infected and take a long time to heal
  • use corn plasters or products that contain acid, injury to your skin may not heal well
  • use direct heat to warm your feet or legs, such as hot water bottle or fires, injury to your skin may not heal well.

If you are concerned about your feet, especially if they are painful, seek immediate advice from your doctor or podiatrist.

Consult a podiatrist for advice

The podiatry administration office can be contacted on 01274 221165.

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