I recently treated a patient who was 56 years old and she had diabetes and previously developed a wound on her foot that healed over time.  Her foot was red hot and swollen and the infection did not resolve with an antibiotic.  Any ideas why?

Poor blood flow!  That is the first of the four risk factors that can lead to an amputation.  Blood flow is necessary for the antibiotic to arrive to the foot.  If she has poor blood flow, or poor plumbing as I call it, the flow of medicine can not fight the infection.  This patient was admitted to the hospital and treated with intravenous antibiotics and her foot condition quickly improved.

Circulatory problems can be detected earlier by simply asking a few questions.

Do you have pain when walking that makes you stop and rest after a certain distance?  For example can you walk for 5-10 minutes and then you need to stop walking?  This may be a sign of poor circulation.

Do you have pain to your legs and feet when you are in bed or trying to sleep?  That pain also could be caused by poor circulation.

Many people believe that if their feet are warm or if they have “good” pulses that their circulation is normal.  That is not always the case as many people with “good pulses” have blockages up near their knee or thigh that can cause problems.  Also, circulation problems in the feet can indicate clogging of the arteries in other areas of your body, such as your neck or your heart.