Smoking has some pretty dramatic effects on your health. Over the years, health professionals have successfully campaigned for better awareness on the impacts of tobacco, from cancer to heart disease. What many people don’t realize, however, is the connection between smoking and feet. Tobacco products can cause damage to your lower limbs as well as your organs.
Breaking Down the Feet
Smoking hardens your arteries and causes a buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, which narrows them and limits your circulation. Typically the extremities are particularly affected by this—and since your feet are so far away from your heart, anything that restricts their blood flow can cause a whole host of serious side effects. The tissues in your lower limbs will not receive sufficient oxygen or nutrients, which weakens those structures and slows down their ability to heal after an injury.
Smoking also weakens your skeleton and increases your susceptibility to serious damage. The nicotine in tobacco slows down the bone-building process, while other chemicals decrease how much calcium you can absorb. This can lead to osteoporosis and a much higher risk for fracturing your feet. The chemicals also make you more susceptible to overuse injuries like bursitis and tendonitis. Each condition may take far longer than normal to heal, too, since your immune system is impaired.
Painful Side Effects
The problems between smoking and feet tend to only worsen over time. As the circulation to your extremities slows and your skeleton weakens, you can develop some painful conditions. Without sufficient oxygen, being active may cause uncomfortable muscle cramps in the feet and legs. You might notice your skin becoming thinner, discolored, cold, and prone to damage. You may have very slow hair or nail growth on your feet as well. Since injuries heal more slowly, you may develop chronic discomfort that limits your mobility, too.
Restoring the Feet
To truly counteract issues between smoking and feet, you’ll need to quit the habit and treat the many side effects. Dr. Sanjay Patel can evaluate your lower limbs and determine the extent of the damage tobacco has already caused. Then our staff can work with you and other members of your health team to help you quit smoking and get your health back on track.
How we manage the effects of tobacco will largely depend on how your feet are impacted. You may need to wear more supportive shoes to protect weakened bones or pad areas prone to blisters and other sores. You may need physical therapy to combat the aches and cramps in your lower limbs. Most likely you’ll need medications to help control the changes in your arteries as well.
Don’t wait until you have chronic foot pain or slow-healing ulcers to address the issues between smoking and your feet. You can prevent these problems before they damage your lower limbs—sometimes in irreparable ways—by letting our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. help. You can reach either of our two Connecticut offices by calling or filling out the online request form: call (203) 876-7736 for the Milford office, or call (203) 288-4055 to reach our Hamden location.