How to Keep Legs Warm With Poor Circulation

Updated April 17, 2017

Poor circulation can be caused by a variety of disease factors. According to the Vascular Disease Foundation, the most common cause of poor circulation in the legs is peripheral vascular disease secondary to diabetes. Decreased circulation slows the blood flow through the body. The decrease in warmed blood prevents the body from staying warm. There are many methods that can be used to warm the legs other than bundling up under a million blankets.

Plug a heating pad into a power source. Turn it on to a comfortable setting.

Allow the heating pad to reach the set temperature before use. Most heating pads take approximately 10 minutes to reach set temperature. The dramatic increase in heat will have a greater overall effect on your internal temperature.

Place the heating pad behind your knees or in between your thighs. Your blood vessels are closest to the skin here and this will allow them to maximise contact with the heating pad.

Put on a pair of compression socks. The socks fit snugly around your legs, which will slightly squeeze the underlying vascular structures and increase circulation.

Wear several layers of clothing. Multiple layers of clothing will trap the heat that radiates from the skin. Conserving this heat and keeping it close to your body will help to keep you warm.

Perform an activity that increases your heart rate. Even if you are not able to perform strenuous cardiovascular exercise, simple tasks such as sweeping the floor, cooking or daily errands can raise your heart rate. You can also raise your heart rate by doing leg lifts while sitting in a chair. An increased heart rate will warm your legs by increasing the blood flow systemically.


Drinking a warm beverage will warm your entire body from the inside out. If the heating pad is too warm against your skin, add a think cloth or towel in between your skin and heating pad. Leg warmers or long underwear can also warm legs.


Contact your health care provider if you experience extreme pain, numbness or tingling in your legs. Never leave plugged in heating pad unattended.

Things You'll Need

  • Heating pad
  • Compression socks
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About the Author

Amanda Goldfarb became a freelance writer in 2006. She has written many articles for "Oviedo TRI-Lights," "Cool Runnings" and several other health- and fitness-related blogs. She has also contributed to her town's tri-club newsletter. Goldfarb obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing a degree in emergency medical services.