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Footwear tips to prevent circulation issues and nerve compression

09/11/2018 by Pivotal Motion

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Footwear tips to prevent circulation issues and nerve compression

Have you ever had the feeling of your foot falling asleep? It is usually followed by a few minutes of pins and needles, and a tingling sensation as blood enters the foot again. The cause of these funny feelings is compression of the nerves and blood vessels entering the foot. This prevents the brain from sending, or receiving nerve signals from the foot. It also prevents the foot from receiving fresh oxygenated blood. Blood flow is usually restored within seconds, however, the nerves take longer to readjust, which explains the few minutes of tingling you feel afterwards. Although this sensation is usually caused by sitting incorrectly, there are many other causes, and it can happen more frequently than we think.

Caution should be taken when ‘wearing-in’ new shoes. It may take time for parts of the shoe to conform to your foot and therefore may compress blood vessels or nerves in your foot. This comes back to ensuring you have a good fit in the shoe store. As a general rule, never purchase new shoes and expect them to stretch or loosen up over time. With a few exceptions, most shoes will only conform slightly to your foot, so ensure that the fit is snug and comfortable enough to wear them out of the store.  If you are sitting between two sizes, it is easier to choose the bigger size, then, using a few simple tricks, tighten the shoe where necessary to fit your foot. One of these tricks is the lace-locking technique, which locks the heel in place to prevent slipping out of the shoe. Socks should also fit comfortably when first trying them on, and do not require time to stretch or wear-in. With exception to therapeutic compression garments, socks should never cause pitting of the skin after the sock is removed.

Long-term circulation and sensation issues are a somewhat separate matter and usually occur in populations with significant systemic disease. For example, Diabetes can cause a reduction in blood flow and a reduction in nerve conduction resulting in numbness in the feet and reduced tissue quality.

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