How Diabetics Can Improve Blood Flow to Their Feet


Diabetic woman stretching her legs


If the blood flow in the leg vessels is disturbed by peripheral arterial occlusive disease or PAD for short, walking quickly becomes a torment. Almost 5 million Germans suffer from it. Diabetics are affected three to four times more often than metabolically healthy people. However, diabetics in particular are particularly at risk of delaying the problem. Because of possibly also damaged nerves, they do not feel when too little oxygen arrives in the tissue.

To prevent PAD from developing in the first place, a healthy lifestyle is essential: avoiding nicotine, a balanced diet, and regular exercise have a positive effect. In addition, daily running and wearing diabetic socks promote the formation of new vessels around the constriction.

So that PAD does not necessarily occur as a typical secondary disease in diabetes, those affected can actively counteract with simple regular exercises, recommends senior physician Susanne Kostow, a specialist in internal medicine and diabetologist DDG at the Sana Klinikum Lichtenberg in Berlin: the following exercises can be easily integrated into everyday life and specifically support the blood circulation of the feet.

Keep balance

Stand behind a chair on a tightly rolled towel and hold on to the backrest. Shift the weight to the balls of the foot, then to the heels. Roll the arches of the feet over the towel. Please repeat the exercise ten times. Then lift the right leg and balance on the left foot. Shift the weight forward, backward, and also to the outer and inner edge of the foot. After that, switch to the other side.

Tip and hoe

Take a seat on a chair, put on the hoe and tip of the feet alternately. Right hoe and left tip at the same time, then left hoe and right tip. Repeat this exercise 20 times. So your feet will be really awake.

The calf stretch

Walk in step position, both tips of the feet and knees straight ahead, upper body straight, looking forward. Stay on the ground with both heels. Stretch and bend the back leg in the knee joint until you feel a stretch in the calf, then change sides. Please perform this exercise three times a day, twice two minutes per leg. This promotes blood circulation and relieves tension in the calf.


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Articulated toes

Cross the fingers of the left hand with the toes of the right foot. Pull your fingers down in the spaces between the toes. Enclose the ball of the foot with your hand, and pull it over the palm of your hand until the toes and instep are stretched. Count to ten and then let go. Now switch to the other foot.

Hedgehog ball massage

Take a pimpled ball to help. When standing, let the sole of your foot slowly circle over the pimpled ball with pressure. Important: As a diabetic, please perform this exercise with socks. Increase the intensity by shifting the entire body weight to the ball. Then switch to the other foot. Perform this exercise for a total of two minutes.

Vein pump

Stand sideways on a chair or wall. Clamp a tennis ball between the feet below the inner ankles and straighten up. Hold on with one hand. Inhale, stretch the spine, and gently retract the belly button. When exhaling, lift the heels. Stop on the bales when inhaling, and lower the heels when exhaling. Coordinate the movement exactly with the breathing. Perform the exercise a total of ten times.