Signs & symptoms of poor circulation in the feet and legs

Updated April 17, 2017

Poor circulation in the feet and legs can be a serious medical condition because it can indicate poor circulation to the heart and brain or another serious condition. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you have poor circulation in your feet or legs, especially if you are over 50.


Cramping, pain, burning, numbness, swelling, frequent coldness in the extremities, and hair loss on the legs can be signs of poor circulation in the feet and legs. In severe cases, the skin may be pale or the toes may have a blue tint, and there may be slow-healing ulcers on the feet.

Underlying Conditions

Poor circulation in the feet and legs can be caused by peripheral vascular disease (PVD) or peripheral artery disease (PAD). It also can be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Contributing Factors

Smoking, lack of exercise and improper nutrition can contribute to or exacerbate poor circulation in the feet and legs.

Natural Treatment & Prevention

Quit smoking, exercise regularly and avoid sitting still for long periods. Eat a well-balanced diet that's low in saturated fat. Keep your legs and feet warm, and don't wear tight socks or shoes.

Medical Treatments

If your doctor detects a weak pulse or decreased blood pressure in your feet or legs, he may prescribe aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix, Clopilet or Ceruvin), cilostazol (Pletal) or compression stockings. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

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About the Author

Basil Argento began writing in 1985. A practicing Buddhist, his passions include mental, physical and spiritual health. Argento holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Columbia College.