Circulation Checks: Lower Extremity
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Please watch the entire video before checking the blood flow in your leg. This video will teach you how to check the blood flow in your leg. Good blood flow is important for recovery after the surgical procedure on your leg. Step 1: Look at your foot and toes on the leg recovering from surgical procedure. Compare your feet. Do you see any differences? Your foot and toes on the surgical side should feel warm, be normal in color, and have little to no swelling. These signs mean you have good blood flow in your leg. If your foot looks red or blue, feels cool, or has a lot of swelling, your leg may have poor blood flow. Step 2: Does your foot feel numb or tingly? A feeling of numbness and tingling may also be a sign of poor blood flow. Or you may feel numbness from a type of anesthesia called a nerve block until it wears off. If you are not sure if you had a nerve block, ask your surgeon. Step 3: Wiggle your toes. Wiggling your toes may improve blood flow to your foot. Repeat steps one through three every four hours, or as directed by your surgeon. Another way to check for good blood flow is by doing a capillary refill test. Capillaries are small blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your toes. The capillary refill test allows you to see how well blood is flowing through these blood vessels to your toes on the surgical side. Step 1: Gently pinch the tip of your toe directly over the toenail with your hand. Step 2: Squeeze until your toenail turns white, then let go. Your toenail should turn pink again within two to three seconds. This sign means that you have good blood flow in your leg and foot. Repeat steps one and two every four hours, or as directed by your surgeon. Contact your surgeon if you notice: your foot looks red or blue, your foot looks very swollen your foot feels cold, numb or tingly, unless you had a nerve block during surgery making your foot feel numb until it wears off, or your toenail takes more than two to three seconds to return to a pink color when doing the capillary refill test.