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Causes of ischemic foot
The most common cause of ischemic foot is atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Arterial build up is commonly seen in individuals who have hypertension (high blood pressure), hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), or diabetes.
Some other less common causes of ischemic foot include arterial blood clots, arterial spasms, and arterial injuries.
Ischemic foot symptoms
Symptoms of ischemic foot in its early stages may include:
- Cold feet.
- Muscle cramps after walking.
- Purple or red discoloration of your toes.
- As the condition becomes more advanced, symptoms may include:
- An ischemic ulcer or a sore that won’t heal.
- Burning pain in the ball of your foot and toes while resting.
- Gangrene or tissue death.
Treatment of ischemic foot
In its early stages, ischemic foot can be treated by increasing blood flow to your feet and protecting the skin in order to prevent sores from forming. Exercise such as walking can help increase blood flow. Medication may also be prescribed to promote better circulation. Walking in bare feet should be avoided as this can increase the risk of injury. Instead, socks, comfortable shoes, or insoles should be worn to prevent rubbing and irritation which can lead to ulcers.
As symptoms of ischemic foot worsens or if there is a risk of gangrene (tissue death), surgery might be necessary to avoid amputation. Surgery is usually performed to either clear the blockage or bypass the artery. There are risks associated with surgery, so it is important to consult a physician to determine if surgery is the most appropriate treatment option for you.