Exercise; smoking cessation; controlling blood pressure and cholesterol; and eating a healthy diet are ways to improve circulation in the legs, according to WebMD. Controlling blood sugar is also important, adds MedlinePlus. Medications and surgery are other options.
Peripheral artery disease, a condition in which the arteries narrow, limits blood circulation to the legs, explains WebMD. Smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol cause hardening and narrowing of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, that lead to this poor circulation. This is the reason why quitting smoking and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control can help improve circulation in the legs. Engaging in exercise, such as walking, can help new small blood vessels form, which improve circulation in the legs, adds MedlinePlus.
A doctor may recommend a patient take aspirin or a prescription medication called Plavix to prevent the formation of blood clots in the arteries, advises MedlinePlus. Cilostazol is a medication that helps enlarge arteries and may improve circulation in the legs as well. If cholesterol levels remain elevated, a doctor may prescribe medication to help normalize them.
If pain is severe, a doctor may perform surgery, states MedlinePlus. An angioplasty is a surgical procedure that opens the narrowed blood vessels, while insertion of a stent in the artery increases blood flow. Alternatively, the doctor may perform peripheral artery bypass surgery of the leg, which reroutes the blood supply around the blocked artery.