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Family Foot & Ankle

Exercises to Improve Circulation in Your Legs

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The publishing industry knows all about the problem of declining circulation. The Cincinnati Post, for example, shuttered in 2007 after a print run of almost 127 years, and other newspapers and magazines have continued to feel the pinch in recent years.

Declining circulation in your bloodstream can also be a big problem. Conditions like peripheral arterial disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and others can reduce the blood flow to your legs and feet, leading to cramps, numbness, and pain. Wounds take longer than normal to heal, and restricted arteries can become a hazard for blood clots, which can clog the pipes and lead to severe consequences like a stroke or heart attack.

Fortunately, there are plenty of simple exercises you can do at work or at home that may help improve your blood flow. A few of our favorites are below.

We’ll start with one of the simplest and best: walking! Just getting up and going for a stroll is a great way to get blood pumping to your legs and feet, and can help you lose weight, too. Just be sure not to overdo it—sufferers of peripheral arterial disease may find that their feet hurt quickly during exercise, so if you start feeling pain, take a quick break.

There are also lots of smaller exercises you can try, even while you’re sitting at your work desk, reading a book, or watching TV. First, try lifting and stretching your toes up in the air while keeping your heel planted on the ground. Then, alternate—plant your toes and lift your heels. For an added challenge, you can quickly tap your foot a few times on the ground after holding the stretch.

Ankle rotations are good, too—hold your foot outward and circle in one direction for about half a minute, then go the other way. If you have a little more space, do full leg extensions: extend one leg at a time and point your toes forward, hold, repeated five times, and switch.

If circulation problems are causing pain, sensitivity issues, or other problems, pick up the phone and call Family Foot and Ankle Center. This is one problem you definitely don’t want to ignore. You can reach our offices in the Cincinnati, OH, area by dialing (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572; you can also set up an appointment online.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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