It’s important to understand how the circulatory system in the legs and feet work if we are going to understand what it means to suffer from poor circulation in the feet. Being the part of the body furthest from the heart, it is one of the first areas affected when circulatory problems begin to surface in the body.
Blood is pumped down into the legs but the heart plays no part in bringing the blood back up. This is because the blood does not simply pass from the arteries to the veins, as you can see here. It first travels through the micro circulatory system and then into the veins and back to the heart. While the heart pumps blood out from the heart, in order for the veins to bring the blood back the body uses the skeletal muscles, which contract to push the blood up. One way valves then lock that blood in place until the next contraction. An interesting test can be done on your arms. If you cut the blood flow off on your arms, you can push the blood out of your veins, which effectively collapse until they are refilled. It’s for this reason that if you are inactive for a long period, (your heart is still beating well and good, but the blood isn’t being pushed back up effectively) you can experience a lot of symptoms associated with poor circulation in feet.
A problem in any one of these areas can cause poor circulation in feet and legs. You need the arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules, veins and skeletal muscles to be working properly in order to have healthy circulation in your legs and feet.