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Leg cramps poor circulation: What Can Leg Cramping Tell You About Your Vascular Health?

Poor Circulation Symptoms and Signs

If your legs and feet keep falling asleep, or feel swollen, restless, and heavy, you may be experiencing signs of poor circulation. Although poor circulation is not a health condition in itself, it is often a sign that something is wrong.

One potential cause of poor circulation is vein disease, also known as venous insufficiency. Vein disease is the underlying cause of varicose veins and spider veins.

Below, we discuss what causes poor circulation, poor circulation symptoms, and treatment for poor circulation in legs. If you have additional questions, we recommend consulting a vein specialist.

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Common Poor Circulation Symptoms

Poor circulation is when your extremities, such as the legs, ankles, and feet, do not receive sufficient blood and oxygen. When this occurs, you may develop one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Cold feet or legs: Reduced blood flow in your feet or legs can cause them to feel colder than other parts of your body. If you experience coldness in your feet or legs, make sure to talk to your doctor.
  • Swollen legs, ankles, or feet: When your veins can’t push blood upward towards your heart, it can collect in your lower extremities. This blood pooling puts extra pressure on the area, causing fluid buildup and swelling.
  • Muscle cramping: Inconsistent blood flow may lead to muscle cramps, aches, and pains. Since there are many causes of muscle cramping besides poor blood circulation, we recommend seeking medical evaluation for this symptom.
  • Numbness: Poor circulation may cause you to experience a tingling or numbing sensation in your thighs, calves, or feet. This can be a sign of venous insufficiency.
  • Changes in skin color: A lack of adequate blood flow can lead to skin discoloration. Most often, this affects the legs, ankles, or feet.
  • Venous ulcers: Over time, a break in the skin on your leg can become larger and more painful. Without treatment, venous ulcers take a long time to heal or may not heal at all.
  • Varicose veins: When blood pools in your veins due to poor circulation, it places pressure on the veins and causes them to expand. Over time, varicose veins can develop.

If you experience one or more signs of poor circulation, be sure to bring them to the attention of a medical professional. Once the underlying cause is identified, poor circulation treatment can be offered to alleviate painful and uncomfortable symptoms.


What Causes Poor Circulation?

There are many potential causes of poor circulation. An experienced vein specialist can help determine what is causing your poor blood circulation, along with providing personalized recommendations.

Causes of poor circulation in legs include:

  • Vein disease: An estimated 6-7 million people within the United States suffer from venous insufficiency, or vein disease. It occurs when tiny, one-way vein valves become damaged and malfunction. Vein disease is often associated with physical signs like varicose veins and spider veins, along with venous symptoms like leg swelling, cramping, and heaviness.
  • Blood clots: Poor blood circulation symptoms can also be caused by blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a serious type of blood clot that develops in the deep venous system, is a serious health condition. A DVT can break off and travel to the lungs. This is known as pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate treatment.
  • May-Thurner Syndrome: This syndrome describes when the right iliac artery compresses the left iliac vein, restricting blood flow out of the left leg. This can lead to swelling and other signs of poor circulation.

If you are living with poor circulation symptoms, we encourage you to consult your doctor. Some untreated conditions, including DVT, can lead to severe complications. Early detection and treatment of the underlying issue typically lead to the best health outcomes.

Treatment for Poor Circulation in Legs with USA Vein Clinics

If vein disease is behind your poor circulation symptoms, you may benefit from minimally invasive, office-based vein treatment. At USA Vein Clinics, our vein specialists are available to help. Although methods can vary based on individual cases, all of our non-surgical vein treatments aim to close malfunctioning veins and reroute blood flow to healthy, surrounding veins.

Vein treatment can alleviate poor circulation in legs, reduce the risk of developing dangerous health conditions, and improve your quality of life. To learn more, simply schedule an initial consultation online or call 888.768.3467.

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Leg Pain and Poor Blood Circulation — Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It: Heart Vascular and Leg Center: Vascular Specialists

Leg pain is often the first symptom of vascular disease, but each person’s experience varies. Your leg pain may range from mild to severe. You may feel the pain when you’re active or at rest.

As the pain comes and goes, it’s easy to ignore it and wait for it to go away. But ignoring leg pain is never a good idea.

If your leg pain is caused by vascular disease and you don’t get treatment, you’re on the road to developing poor circulation and serious complications that can lead to amputation.

At Heart Vascular & Leg Center in Bakersfield, CA, Vinod Kumar, MD, FACC, a board-certified cardiologist, and his team, offer comprehensive care for leg pain, and best of all, you get all the medical attention you need in one location. We have a team of multidisciplinary experts who specialize in diagnosing and treating vascular and cardiology conditions.

Here’s a rundown of the vascular conditions that cause leg pain, and the top five reasons you should never ignore leg symptoms.

Vascular diseases that cause leg pain

Peripheral artery disease and venous insufficiency are the primary vascular diseases responsible for leg pain. You will also end up with leg pain if you develop deep vein thrombosis.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

PAD begins when cholesterol and other fats build up in the artery wall, a condition called atherosclerosis. Without treatment, the fats keep accumulating and the resulting plaque enlarges and hardens.

As the plaque restricts blood flow, your muscles, skin, bones, and other tissues in your lower leg don’t get the oxygen they need to function. That’s when you develop leg pain.

Venous insufficiency and varicose veins

Venous insufficiency develops when valves in a leg vein fail. These valves keep blood flowing up your leg, working against gravity as deoxygenated blood returns to your heart.

When a valve fails, it allows blood to go back down your leg. The refluxing blood accumulates in that area of the vein, resulting in engorged, twisted, varicose veins. 

Though most people think of varicose veins as nothing more than a cosmetic problem, they’re actually the first sign of venous insufficiency, a vascular disease that leads to complications.

Varicose veins commonly cause leg pain as well as symptoms such as heavy-feeling legs, aching, cramps, leg swelling, and restless legs.

Spider veins

Superficial leg veins, known as spider veins occur when tiny veins congregate below the surface of the skin, causing red, blue or purple discolorations. Spider veins are harmless but can be removed for cosmetic reasons. If spider veins make you feel  self-conscious, we offer several ways to get rid of them: sclerotherapy, laser treatment, or radiofrequency treatment.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when you have a blood clot in a vein that runs through the center of your leg. Venous insufficiency increases your risk for DVT, and DVT can contribute to venous insufficiency.

Five reasons you should never ignore leg pain

No matter how much you may hope the problem will go away on its own, it’s always dangerous to ignore leg pain.

These are the top five reasons you should see us if you develop leg pain:


If you have a DVT, it needs immediate medical care

If you have a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), it’s a blood clot which can break away, travel to your lungs, and block blood flow. This condition, called pulmonary embolism, is a life-threatening condition that needs emergency treatment.

2. Untreated PAD can lead to amputation

Studies show that 11% of patients with untreated PAD develop critical limb ischemia, and 22% of those with ischemia will need an amputation within one year.

Critical limb ischemia occurs when PAD causes severe blockage in the artery. The loss of oxygen-carrying blood leads to tissue death and gangrene.

3. Venous insufficiency and PAD cause leg ulcers

Venous insufficiency increases pressure in the vein. The high pressure forces fluids out of the vein and into the surrounding skin. Before long, these fluids break down the tissues and cause a venous ulcer.

PAD causes arterial ulcers. As your skin is deprived of oxygen, it deteriorates, and a deep ulcer develops.

Both types of leg ulcers pose a significant threat because they don’t heal on their own. Without intensive wound care at Heart Vascular & Leg Center, the ulcers keep enlarging. As a result, you develop skin and bone infections that put you at risk for amputation.

4. PAD is a sign of widespread cardiovascular disease

People with PAD also have a high risk of developing atherosclerosis in other arteries. There’s a good chance you have blockages in your coronary, carotid, or cerebral arteries.

5. PAD and venous insufficiency cause symptoms beyond leg pain

Vascular disease has a wide-reaching effect on the blood vessels and muscles in your legs. 

Without treatment, you can develop:

  • Skeletal muscle damage
  • Reduced leg strength
  • Loss of balance
  • Slow walking speed
  • Ischemic peripheral neuropathy
  • Eczema-like skin rashes on your lower leg

Ongoing vascular disease results in a slow but steady decline in your overall functioning as well as loss of mobility.

If you need help with leg pain, call our Heart Vascular & Leg Center office in Bakersfield, California, or schedule an appointment online today.

Poor circulation of the legs – the main methods of struggle and prevention


Causes of circulatory disorders in the lower extremities, its main symptoms. Modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of the disease. The feasibility of using compression stockings. Prevention of circulatory disorders.

Impaired circulation in the legs is a signal of the possible presence of hidden diseases and a serious reason to see a doctor, as it can lead to unpleasant consequences.

Main causes of poor circulation in the lower extremities

There are a number of factors contributing to impaired blood circulation:

1. Pregnancy.

2. Sedentary lifestyle.

3. Wrong lifestyle – smoking, poor posture, poor diet.

4. Anemia.

5. Taking drugs and certain medications.

In addition, some diseases can also lead to poor circulation in the legs:

– hypertension;

– phlebeurysm;

– obesity;

– diabetes;

– elevated blood cholesterol levels;

– bronchial asthma;

– phlebitis;

– kidney disease;

– heart disease;

– aneurysms.

Signs of poor circulation in the legs

The very first symptoms that a patient may experience are a constant feeling of tiredness in the legs, their numbness, tingling, a feeling of coldness and occasional cramps. Pain in the lower extremities can also occur, and they do not depend on whether the person is moving or at rest. Another sign is changes in the color of the legs and the appearance of blue or even black spots on them.


To make a diagnosis, the doctor will conduct an external examination of the legs, clarify information about concomitant diseases and, most likely, prescribe additional studies – ultrasound, angiography or magnetic resonance angiography, dopplerography.


In the initial stages, the patient is usually prescribed complex therapy, which includes the use of creams, ointments, oral medications, therapeutic exercises and massage.

In more severe cases, they resort to surgical intervention – peripheral shunting, angioplasty, aterectomy, revascularization. Therefore, the fight against the disease is better to start at the first symptoms.

One of the effective methods of treatment of circulatory disorders in the lower extremities, especially in its early stages, is compression stockings. With this disease, increased intravenous pressure occurs, and compression hosiery (stockings, stockings, tights) exert external counterpressure in certain areas of the limb and thereby increase the rate of blood circulation. In addition to the fact that compression stockings effectively combat the feeling of tired legs and their swelling, they also prevent the further progression of the disease.

Benefits of wearing compression stockings for poor circulation in the legs:

– constant pressure on the surface of the limb, which is proportional to the load that is created by the muscles during movement;

– protection of veins from stretching;

– normalization of blood flow;

– improving the supply of tissues with oxygen and nutrients;

– prevention of such a serious complication as thrombosis.

However, there is one indispensable condition – you need to wear such products all the time, and their type and size is selected by the doctor strictly individually.

Prevention of circulatory disorders in the lower extremities

In case of a hereditary predisposition to this disease or when the first warning signs appear, preventive measures must be taken:

1. The use of soothing, bactericidal, massage ointments, gels, foot powders. Their regular use will give the skin elasticity and strengthen the walls of blood vessels.

2. Constant control of the posture while sitting – the cross-legged position is very harmful.

3. Do not wear high-heeled shoes for more than four hours in a row, and also make sure that your legs are not pulled together by tight straps, laces and fasteners.

4. With flat feet, it is advisable to do a foot massage if there are no contraindications.

5. During pregnancy, a woman’s legs have a very high load. In this situation, a bandage, special compression stockings, as well as gymnastics will help.

6. For people at risk, it will be useful to wear compression garments prophylactically.

Impaired circulation and leg cramps at nightPhlebological Center “Antireflux”

Spasms are not always a symptom of a serious illness. These painful spasms often result from stress, hypothermia, or excessive exercise. However, you should not worry only if leg cramps occur occasionally at night or during the day, moreover, their external cause is beyond doubt. If constant cramps in the legs at night do not give a person peace of mind, he should think about his health.
As a rule, a patient who visits a doctor complains about more than one symptom. In most cases, convulsions occur against the background of swelling, pain, and a feeling of heaviness in the lower extremities. These painful symptoms are caused by a weak tone of the venous wall, which leads to the expansion of the lumen of the vein, the appearance of nodules and twists. Of course, dilated varicose veins do not leave the slightest doubt as to why it cramps the legs at night, but this symptom is obvious only in the case of superficial veins. Diagnosis of deep veins will require the availability of modern ultrasound equipment.

Mechanisms of varicose degeneration

A patient with varicose veins feels discomfort in the lower extremities during the day and at night, night cramps in the legs interfere with quality rest, cause stress. What changes in the venous system give rise to such an effect? Due to increased pressure in the veins:

  • Intercellular interaction worsens, due to which the walls of blood vessels become more permeable;
  • Inflammatory processes develop;
  • Fibrous tissue grows;
  • The number of elastic elements is reduced;
  • The production of a substance that slows down blood clotting is reduced.

Valve malfunction

If the valve ceases to cope with its duties and begins to pass blood not only towards the heart, but also away from it, the vessel overflows, which leads to stretching of its walls. Sooner or later, inadequate valve function will cause varicose veins.
In addition, disturbed blood flow provokes negative changes in the electrolyte balance of the blood. And since blood circulation slows down at night, nighttime leg cramps occur as a clear manifestation of magnesium, sodium, calcium, and potassium deficiencies. Thus, there is a long chain of negative consequences that lead to irreversible changes in the venous system.

Leg cramps at night – treatment

And, unfortunately, pain and cramps in the legs at night will not go away without proper treatment. Moreover, without timely treatment, the risk of developing complications such as trophic ulcers and thrombophlebitis increases. Trophic ulcers will bring a lot of suffering to the patient, and the danger of thrombophlebitis lies not only in the fact that a blood clot can lead to blockage of the vessel. As modern studies show, with thrombophlebitis, the body perceives the affected areas of the veins as foreign tissue and begins to fight it.