You already know your lungs would thank you if you quit smoking. Other body parts would be quick to chime in. Cigarette smoking has been blamed for cancers of the larynx, esophagus, mouth, bladder, liver, cervix, stomach, kidneys, pancreas, colon, and rectum - as well as the lungs. Your family probably has a lot to say, too; they’d be pleased to hear you stop coughing and happy to stop bugging you about the effects of secondhand smoke.
Go ahead and add your foot health to the list of reasons why you should quit smoking.
What smoking does to feet
The greatest risk to the feet of smokers has to do with the buildup of plaque in their arteries. Tar and nicotine are chemicals that cause artery walls to become sticky. Sticky plaque makes it difficult for blood to pass through, and since the feet are far away from the heart, blood flow to them becomes slow and restricted. Oxygen and healing blood isn’t getting to your muscles or tissues.
This phenomenon is called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. Symptoms of PAD include
·Numbness, tingling, coldness, or pain in the feet or legs
·Sores that don’t heal on legs, feet, or toes
·Changes in the skin of the feet (red, thinning, shiny) or toenails (color, thickness)
·An increase in the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease
·Hair loss on feet and legs
·Complications with bone healing after surgery
Get the help you need
The good news is that smokers have a great number of resources to help them quit:
·The podiatry staff at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center, LLP is available to anyone in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Joseph Saka, and Dr. Katy Statler can examine your feet and give you motivation to quit if your feet show any damage. Contact us online or call us at (732) 905-1110.
·There are vast resources available online, especially at smokefree.gov. This site is available in English and Spanish. Our own Dr. Boyd is fluent in Spanish as well, and is happy to help patients who prefer a Spanish-speaking podiatrist.
·Take advantage of the American Cancer Society’s “Great American Smokeout” as a launching pad in your overall plan to quit. Join millions of other Americans and put together a plan to quit on November 16, 2017. Your feet will thank you!