What are the causes of poor knee circulation?

knee xray image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com

Poor blood circulation, especially in the knees, is a common problem with older people, mostly because it takes a long time to develop. As with most blood circulation problems, the most common cause of poor knee circulation is the build-up of fatty deposits that result in the development of plaque in the arteries. This leads to reduced blood flow that can affect every area of the body.

More O2, Please

Poor blood circulation can indicate another health problem. It could mean that the body is not getting enough oxygen in general. If the brain is not getting enough oxygen, brain function can be affected. If the heart is not getting an adequate flow of blood, it can result in chest pain and high blood pressure. People with poor blood circulation may have difficulty walking even short distances without having chest pain and shortness of breath. Lack of oxygen can affect even the liver and kidneys.

Healthy Living

One of the major causes for poor knee circulation is diet. If people consume diets high in fat, they risk developing circulation problems. Exercise is also important. People who exercise regularly--at least a few times per week--run less risk of developing circulation problems because exercise helps prevent the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Smoking can lead to circulation problems as well. Having a healthy lifestyle goes far in preventing circulation problems in any area of the body, especially in the knees.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Poor blood circulation in any part of the body can be a symptom of a much more serious health problem. In the knees, legs and feet, it could be a symptom of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a partial or complete blockage of the circulation to the legs and feet. The risk factors for PAD include high blood pressure, smoking, abnormal blood cholesterol, diabetes, advanced age and a sedentary lifestyle. Older men are especially susceptible to PAD.

Home Remedies and Exercise

Many patients report relief from poor knee circulation by using natural solutions and doing exercises that focus on the affected areas. Rosemary and ginkgo, which are available both in pill form and as herbal teas, are two herbs best known for treating circulation problems. Exercises that stretch the muscles around the knee are also a good idea. Always consult a physician before taking any supplements or beginning an exercise program.


Poor blood circulation is preventable. If it occurs, there are effective treatments for it. The most common treatment is simple: getting build-up plaque under control by changing the diet and exercising more. Diabetics should keep their blood sugar under control. There are also some highly effective drugs, and vascular surgery can correct specific arterial problems.

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