Signs and symptoms of poor blood circulation in legs

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The heart pumps blood throughout the body and the blood brings nutrients that the various body parts need as well as removes impurities, which it takes back for disposal. Some of the causes of poor blood circulation are poor nutrition habits, unhealthy lifestyle choices and diseases.

Poor blood circulation to the legs can lead to discomfort in the legs, escalate to pain and eventually lead to gangrene, which can result in amputation of the leg. The good news is there are many signs and symptoms of poor blood circulation in the legs to help one identify this issue before it becomes more serious.

Physical Signs

One physical sign that you may have poor blood circulation in your legs is discolouration. If you notice a blue (commonly referred to as a black and blue spot), purple or pale spot or area on your leg, then this may be a sign that the blood is not flowing freely to the spot. Slow healing, which means you will see an open sore on your leg for a longer period, may accompany discolouration. Slow healing is another symptom of poor blood circulation.


Poor circulation in the legs usually results in unusual sensations in the legs, such as tingling or pins and needles. Often this occurs because you have sat on your leg or kept it in one position for too long. However, do not dismiss this feeling if it shows up with some of the other signs of poor blood circulation. You may also feel leg cramps, such as a Charley horse, when there is poor blood circulation in the legs.


When the legs hurt after walking a short distance, after other mild exercise or from standing for a short period, these can all be signs of poor blood circulation. One should be able to perform routine movements with the leg without experiencing pain or discomfort.


Fatigue during the day or even in the morning when one first wakes up can be a sign of poor circulation to the legs. If you experience leg pain while trying to sleep or your legs kick and move without your control, this could be another syndrome known as restless leg syndrome. This will also cause fatigue. Tell your health care provider if your fatigue persists beyond a few days so that he can run tests to see if poor blood circulation to the legs is causing this issue.


If your legs feel numb, this may be a sign of poor blood circulation. Even if it is just a spot or area of the legs, this is a serious sign that you should report to your health care provider. There can be other reasons for numbness in the legs such, as cold weather, but if this condition appears for no apparent reason it is usually related to poor blood circulation in the legs.