Heart Health Month: The Foot and Ankle Connections


February is Heart Health Month, a time to consider circulation, boost blood flow, and take stock of overall wellness. One facet of that picture that frequently gets overlooked, however, is your feet!

Blood, carrying vital oxygen and nutrients, travels throughout your body through a complex network of vessels. When this flow gets sluggish, especially in the lower extremities, your feet and ankles become the first to signal distress. Your Next Step wants you healthy from tip to toe, so we wrote this blog to keep you in the know. Read on to learn more.

Unclogging the Clues

  1. Cold Feet, Warm Heart (Raynaud’s Disease):

    • Ever experienced icy feet while your core feels like a furnace? This might be Raynaud’s, a condition affecting millions where blood vessels in the fingers and toes narrow in response to cold or stress.
    • While not life-threatening, it can be a potential marker for autoimmune diseases.
    • If you suspect Raynaud’s, avoid triggers like cold temperatures and emotional stress. Seek medical advice if symptoms worsen or become persistent.
  1. Painful Numbness (Peripheral Artery Disease):

    • PAD occurs when narrowed arteries restrict blood flow to the legs and feet, leading to pain, fatigue, and even tissue death in severe cases.
    • A staggering 8.5 million Americans suffer from PAD, underscoring its importance as a public health concern.
    • Don’t ignore leg or foot pain, especially if it worsens with exercise. Early diagnosis and management can prevent serious complications.
  1. Shiny, Smooth Skin (Buerger’s Disease):

    • This less common but quite concerning condition causes inflammation in the blood vessels in extremities like your feet.
    • Symptoms include redness, pain, and even skin ulcers, which can be quite serious.
    • Watch out for changes in skin tone and texture, especially if accompanied by other symptoms. Prompt medical attention is crucial for managing Buerger’s and preventing tissue damage.

Don’t underestimate the heart-foot connection! Keep tabs on your feet and watch for signs of the issues above if you can this month. And if you’re in doubt, come see us!

Your Next Step is here to help. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, and Dr. Cassandra Stache are ready to help you step forward on sturdier, pain-free feet. Schedule your appointment by contacting us today!

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