What to look out for

Most leg and foot problems can be helped by doing something early on

Our skin naturally changes as we get older, for example, it may lose its softness, elasticity and smoothness over time. However, you may notice more unusual changes, such as your legs become dryer, scaly and discoloured with brown staining.

Our veins may become a bit more visible and we may become a bit less mobile than we used to be. Also wounds can take a little longer to heal than when we were younger.

However, any knocks or cuts should still heal quite quickly. Our legs or feet should not become so swollen making it difficult to find comfortable footwear. The skin on our legs should not be so dry that it itches or develops areas that are scaly, irritable or discoloured. This leads to the skin becoming more fragile, and more susceptible to skin tears, injury, inflammation and infection.

If mobile, we should be able to walk short distances without getting cramp in our calves. Veins on our legs may be more visible but should not be uncomfortable.

Look out for legs or feet with these signs:

If you have difficulty bending, use a handheld mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet to ensure that you do not have small cuts, blisters, or ingrown toenails.

  • Swelling
  • Tired, throbbing and painful legs
  • Redness and skin marks from clothing
  • Cramp or pain after walking
  • Tingling sensation
  • Dry, itchy and scaly skin
  • Reddish or brown staining patches of skin between the knee and ankle, which can often in the early stages feel hot, painful and can be misdiagnosed as infection
  • Raised veins in the lower leg (varicose veins)
  • Thread veins – these small veins are present in everyone but are not normally visible until they expand and show through the skin
  • Hard skin, cracks or fissures on the heel
  • Sores and knocks that are not healing

The above signs are not normal.

If your legs or feet are causing you problems, you should see your GP

If you have any concerns about the condition of your legs, even if you don’t have exactly the same symptoms as described it’s important to seek advice. Your GP will then refer you to a specialist healthcare professional, such as a vascular nurse or your local Leg Club, who will be able to do some simple tests to find out if you have a problem.

Download our A4 2 page printable patient leaflet as a pdf

Download our patient booklet as a pdf

Other support

NHS Choices the official NHS website, which provides vital information and support about leg and foot signs and other symptoms.

Contact details
Call 111 - for non-emergency medical advice
Find out more on the NHS Choices website

The Lindsay Leg Club Foundation Promoting and supporting community based treatment, health promotion, education and ongoing care for people who are experiencing leg-related problems - including leg ulcers and other wound care issues.

Contact details
01473 749565
Find out more on the Lindsay Leg Club Foundation website

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