Patient Education

Ischemic Foot

Ischemic foot is inadequate arterial blood flow from the heart to the foot that can occur from arterial blockages, arterial spasms, and injury to the artery.

Since blood flow is restricted to the foot, symptoms include cold feet, purplish or discolored toes, muscle cramping, and pain. Ulcers and gangrene can result from the lack of blood to the area. Treatment for ischemic foot involves exercises that increase blood flow to the feet, such as walking; orthotics and protective shoes can protect the affected skin from damage caused by rubbing or irritation. Stoping all tobacco products is required as tobacco greatly restricts blood flow. Medications may be prescribed to improve blood flow (always consult with a doctor before taking any medication). Sometimes surgery is required to reestablish blood flow.

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