Do your feet feel heavier than normal? Does going for a walk now feel like you’re dragging a five pound weight tied to your feet with every step you take? If so, you’re not alone. Many people experience this feeling of heaviness in their feet, and it is something that should be monitored and treated. In today’s blog, we explain why your feet may seem to feel heavier, and how you can treat the condition.
Causes Of Heavy Feet
The feeling of heavy, weighted or stiff feet can develop for a number of different reasons. Some of the more common conditions and factors that can contribute to this sensation include:
Varicose Veins – Due to age and stress, veins in our legs can lose some of their elasticity and the valves inside them can become weak. When this happens, blood can’t circulate as easily and can sometimes pool in your legs. This excess blood in the area can leave your legs feeling heavy and tired.
Peripheral Artery Disease – Peripheral artery disease, also known as PAD, is a form of cardiovascular disease in which fatty deposits build up in the walls of your arteries, effectively narrowing them. This limits blood circulation in the area and again can lead to muscle fatigue and cramps in your feet, bringing on a heavier or tired feeling in your legs.
Overuse – Sometimes this heavy sensation is simply because you’ve been on your feet all day or you’ve stressed your feet too many days in a row without giving them enough time to heal from the stress.
Spine Problems – Interestingly, a problem with your spine can be felt all the way in your feet. For example, spinal stenosis is a condition that leads to spinal nerve compression, and this can lead to issues like muscle weakness, numbness or heaviness in your extremities, including your feet. If you have back problems, it could also be causing symptoms to develop in other areas of your body.
Diagnosing and Treating Heavy Feet
Treating the condition obviously starts with a correct diagnosis. You can perform a self-assessment and determine if overuse is likely the culprit, but if symptoms are more frequent or can’t be linked to excess use, consider setting up an appointment with your general practitioner or a foot specialist like Dr. Silverman. They’ll conduct a physical exam and ask about your symptoms to help get a better idea of what might be going on. They may also opt to confirm their suspicions with the help of an X-ray, MRI, CT scan or similar imaging test.
Treating the heavy sensation involves making lifestyle changes to address the underlying issue, especially if a vein or artery issue is at play. Symptoms in the legs are exacerbated by conditions like obesity and high blood pressure, so many treatments revolve around curbing these issues. Improving your diet, losing weight, giving up smoking, getting regular exercise and wearing compression stockings are a number of different ways to help improve circulation in your feet and get rid of this heavy feet sensation. These tips can also help to decompress spinal nerves, although hands-on treatment from a spine specialist may be your best bet if your foot issue is being caused by a problem in your spine.