Are you noticing symptoms of poor circulation in your legs? Muscle cramping, foot pain, numbness or tingling in your toes, and cold feet are all signs your blood isn’t flowing as smoothly as it should.
You shouldn’t ignore these signs. Poor circulation can impact your overall health and cause problems ranging from fatigue and digestive problems to a higher risk of blood clots. It can also be a symptom of vein disease, a common condition that causes varicose veins and spider veins.
The good news is that you can learn how to improve circulation in your legs. This guide offers helpful tips for improving blood circulation in your legs and recommendations on when to see a vein doctor.
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What Happens When You Improve Blood Circulation in Your Legs?
Circulation is the continuous movement of blood around the body, made possible by the pumping action of the heart. This movement or “flow” of blood takes place in a network of vessels that carry blood to and from the heart.
Good blood circulation allows tissues to take in nutrients and oxygen and get rid of waste. It’s associated with faster healing, a stronger heart, mental sharpness, and healthier-looking skin.
Returning blood to the heart from the lower parts of the body is hard work for the circulatory system because the blood has to be pushed upwards through the body.
If you have poor circulation, you’ll likely notice signs in your legs — restless legs, varicose veins, a feeling of heaviness, fatigue, pain, or swelling in the legs and feet. These are all signs that the veins in your legs aren’t able to effectively pump blood upward to the heart.
Conversely, good circulation in the lower extremities ensures overall bodily health, benefiting the heart, lungs, brain, skin, and eyes, and enhancing overall well-being. Thus, focusing on improving leg circulation is not just about alleviating leg discomfort; it’s about promoting efficient blood flow throughout the entire body.
At USA Vein Clinics, we understand the importance of good leg circulation and offer a range of vein treatments tailored to improve it. Our expert vein doctors use the latest techniques and technology to address issues like varicose veins and other circulation-related problems. By seeking treatment with us, you’re not just addressing leg discomfort; you’re taking a significant step towards better health for your entire body. Schedule a consultation today to explore how our treatments can benefit your circulatory health and overall well-being.
How to Increase Blood Circulation in Legs: Tips for Better Blood Flow
Take control of your circulatory health with these tips for better blood flow in your legs.
1. Walk Daily
Walking at any pace can help increase blood flow throughout the body. It’s known as one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure and increase muscle contraction in the legs. As muscles contract and relax, they squeeze around the large veins in the legs, promoting healthy circulation in more stagnant areas of flow.
Walking also helps you stay at a healthy weight, which is important for preventing vascular issues. It’s also essential for maintaining a healthy heart.
Try walking for at least 20 minutes once a day to help boost circulation.
2. Practice Stretching Exercises
Stretching your legs improves blood flow throughout the entire body, which, studies show, can protect against heart disease and stroke.
How can stretching increase blood circulation?
When you stretch your calves, hamstrings, and quads, your leg muscles press on your blood vessels and the body releases chemicals that make more room for blood to flow easily.
A simple morning stretching routine can get your blood flowing when you wake up. Stretching before bed can help to improve circulation in your feet while sleeping.
You can also get in more stretching through yoga. Try joining a local class or following yoga teachers online.
3. Position Your Body for Better Blood Flow
If you tend to cross your legs when you sit, you may be hindering the circulation in your lower body. That common position cuts off circulation to the legs, making it more difficult for blood to flow back to the heart.
Make a habit of sitting in a position that’s better for circulation to reverse the effects.
Try out these sitting positions that help promote better vein circulation:
- Sit with your legs spaced slightly apart and your feet on the floor. Remember to get up from time to time so you aren’t in this position for too long.
- You can also slightly elevate your legs to help circulation. Put your feet up on a stool or benchsix to twelve inches above the ground.
- While sleeping, prop your legs on a pillow to improve blood flow. This position is also healthy for your spine.
4. Wear Compression Stockings
Compression stockings can improve your blood flow and reduce swelling and pain in the legs and feet.
Compression stockings mimic the internal action of walking by causing the muscles in your legs to continuously contract and relax, thereby stimulating blood flow.
Wearing compression stockings is particularly helpful if you have a job that requires you to be either seated or standing for the entire day. Our vein specialists also often recommend compression stockings after vein treatment to maintain healthy circulation.
5. Stop Smoking
If you want healthy blood vessels and you smoke, make quitting a priority. If you’re smoking, your heart is not working under the best conditions, and this may lead to damaged veins in your legs. Smoking can cause your feet and ankles to swell, and blood clots are common for smokers.
6. Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress can have negative effects on your physical health, including the body’s circulation. It increases blood pressure, damaging the vein walls and valves.
Find ways to relieve stress through exercise, listening to music, taking deep breaths, meditation, or therapy.
When Should You See a Doctor for Poor Leg Circulation?
Knowing how to improve circulation in your legs enables you to encourage healthy blood flow throughout your body and protect against health issues related to poor circulation, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.
However, signs of poor circulation can overlap with vein disease symptoms, so it can be confusing to tell the difference.
Poor circulation is often linked with vein disease (also called chronic venous insufficiency), a condition that impacts over 30 million adults in America. It impacts blood flow, but it can also lead to a range of symptoms, including everything from superficial problems like spider veins to an increased risk for deep vein thrombosis.
Distinguishing between ordinary circulation issues and vein disease symptoms can be challenging. If you notice signs such as leg pain, swelling, non-healing leg wounds, cramps, or restless legs, it’s advisable to consult a vein specialist. A qualified doctor can accurately diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate treatments to improve your vein health, providing relief from your symptoms.
USA Vein Clinics, recognized as America’s premier network of vein clinics, offers expert consultations for individuals concerned about poor circulation and related vein issues like varicose veins, discomfort, and swelling. Scheduling an appointment with one of their experienced vein doctors is a proactive step towards addressing these health concerns.
- Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/leg-stretching-may-improve-blood-flow-and-prevent-strokes
Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Yan Katsnelson is a philanthropist, business owner, and highly skilled cardiac surgeon. He is the Founder and CEO of USA Vein Clinics, which is part of USA Clinics Group, the parent company of USA Fibroid Centers, USA Vascular Centers, and USA Oncology Centers, with more than 100 facilities nationwide. Dr. Yan has established himself as a strong advocate for accessibility and affordability of the most advanced medical care close to home. His mission is to create a positive experience for each patient with compassionate, personalized, and expert care.