As the name suggests, Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) prevents blood flow through arteries in the outer sections of your body. Plaque build up prevents blood from flowing easily to your extremities, especially your legs and feet. This means, if you have PAD, it is critical to take care of your feet. Because blood flow is limited, common foot injuries and infections can cause serious harm to those with PAD.
If you’ve been diagnosed with PAD, you need to pay more attention to your feet than you might be used to. Here are a few things to keep in the front of your mind so you can be footloose and fancy-free even if you have PAD.
Wash and Moisturize Daily
We’re hoping you already wash your feet, but if not, it’s never too late to start. Your feet are one of several places on your body that are most prone to sweat, and they spend most of the day sealed up inside your socks. Washing your feet can help prevent infections from developing in the first place (so be extra thorough between your toes).
On top of washing, moisturizing your feet is crucial, too. It’s almost inevitable that our feet will become exposed to bacteria from time to time. Regular moisturizing can help to prevent cracks in your feet from creating gateways into the body. Healthy feet are beautiful and help keep the rest of your body healthy, too!
See A Doctor For Any Foot Problem
Speaking of infections, if you do develop one, don’t rest on it. Fungal infections are uncomfortable for anyone, but for people with PAD, they can be much more. Even a normally benign infection like athlete’s foot or nail fungus can open pathways for much more serious infections. Those infections are likely to have an even greater impact when your blood flow is limited.
While most people treat simple infections at home, if you suffer from PAD, it is crucial to consult a doctor about an infection as soon as possible. An expert can offer the best treatment to deal with the infection and quickly judge the severity of it.
You should also see a doctor for corns, bunions and anything out-of-the-norm on your feet. A doctor can offer much greater care in treating these conditions, which could very well save you more trouble down the line.
Fidget Those Feet
You’ve probably heard a thousand times that exercise is good for your health. Well the same is true for your feet. Low impact workouts such as walking, biking and swimming can help create greater blood flow to your feet and can also gradually help to prevent the worst side effects of Peripheral Artery Disease.
When you can’t get out for a workout, you should keep your toes wiggling. Even moderate activity in your feet is enough to improve blood flow. Consider setting a reminder several times a day to alert you take a break and stretch your feet.
Trim Nails Carefully
Nail care is important for everyone, but people with PAD need to be extra careful when trimming their toenails. As with the rest of our tips, the goal here is to prevent the skin from breaking and creating a pathway into the body. To keep it simple, cut your nails regularly, but don’t cut your nails too short and always cut them straight across. Ingrown toenails are difficult to treat and create an easy passage for bacteria to enter the body.
Buy The Right Shoes (And Socks, Too)
Not all shoes are equal and that holds doubly true for those with peripheral artery disease. Poor-fitting shoes can rub feet uncomfortably and cause the skin to break at those pressure points. This is especially possible around the toenails, so pay extra attention there when choosing shoes. On top of that, a quality pair of supportive socks goes a long way toward making feet comfortable and keeping them healthy.
Okay we know you probably already wear shoes, but even in situations where you would normally go barefoot, those with PAD should keep their shoes on. Beaches, grass, pebbles and the gravel around your house are all common places for foot injuries. If you can’t live without walking through the grass barefoot, be extra careful where you are walking to prevent any cuts or scrapes that might happen.
Check In With The Experts
Keep in touch with a podiatrist and a vascular expert (like our team at Lam Vascular). Having a close expert eye watch over your foot and vascular issues can help prevent serious health conditions before they start.
Schedule an initial appointment with us today if you need help better managing your PAD (or are experiencing any symptoms of PAD). Lam Vascular & Associates has convenient locations in Dallas and Rockwall, Texas.
The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.