Think about power lines. They are only able to function if they remain connected. If something short-circuits or cuts off the flow, power is lost. Your body is similar. Everything in it is connected to the vital organs in some way. Your circulatory and nervous systems are two of the most important players in that connection. When either is restricted or injured, your body suffers. The actual injury doesn’t even need to be a big one to cause pain or severely limit your life. Vascular and nerve problems in your feet or ankles can make your lower limbs uncomfortable and even result in permanent damage.
The vascular and nervous systems connect the entire body and keep it alive and functioning. Your blood carries vital nutrients and oxygen to all of your tissues. The nerves spark movement and carry messages back to your brain, allowing you to stay aware of the world around you and respond to stimulants like pain. If either is impaired or injured, your lower limbs are frequently the first to feel the loss. Decreased blood flow means a lack of oxygen, which hurts the tissues. Impaired nerves may limit your lower limb functions and can put you at high risk for injuries that could lead to amputation.
Some vascular and nerve problems include:
This is a vasospastic disorder that severely limits the circulation in your feet. The tiny blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the skin spasm and suddenly constrict. This makes the affected area turn a blue or purple color, which lasts until the vessels relax and oxygen is restored to the area.
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause a slow deadening of the nerves over time. Often the feet experience a pins-and-needles pain as the damaged nerves misfire. Over time, the injury to your nervous system can severely impair your foot function and put you at high risk for injuries.
These are painful bumps or blisters that develop from inflamed blood vessels in the skin. They appear as an abnormal response to suddenly warming up after exposure to cold temperatures, particularly in the toes. The affected patches itch painfully and may swell or blister.
Trauma to nervous tissue can cause a variety of problems. Sometimes the distress results in swelling or abnormal growth, creating a benign tumor. In the feet, these usually develop between the metatarsals and cause tingling, numbness, and general pain.
These aren’t the only issues that can affect the circulatory and nervous systems in your lower limbs, of course. Problems could include erythromelalgia, ischemic foot, spasms, and venous stasis, among other things. Since many vascular and nerve problems can lead to serious, even permanent, injury, they need to be addressed right away to prevent any potential complications.
If you have noticed any visible changes or weakness in your lower limbs, don’t ignore the issue. The sooner potential problems are addressed, the more likely they can be remedied. Contact the experts at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. in Milford and Hamden for an appointment or more information. Fill out the contact form online or call either location—(203) 876-7736 for the Milford office, or (203) 288-4055 for the Hamden location—to reach us.