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Surgery Improves Feet Circulation

March 25, 2014, 6:09 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Surgery Improves Feet Circulation

With the weather expected to warm up this weekend, you might be excited to get out your sandals. A Sioux Falls woman is especially thrilled because, in the past, a medical condition caused her to be embarrassed about how her feet looked.

Whether she's working or at school, Delaney Versteeg loves sporting sandals.

"It's been hard the last few weeks because it's been so cold," Versteeg said.

Still, the Sioux Falls woman doesn't have cold feet about showing her feet. That's because until around one month ago, the 21-year-old usually didn't wear sandals.

"People would ask me, 'Why are your feet so dirty?' I would say, 'My feet aren't dirty. I just have poor circulation,'" Versteeg said.

Versteeg had a condition called Raynaud's disease. The disease causes some areas of a person's body - such as their fingers or toes - to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress.

"The arteries that were going to the toes are really small. They were in spasm so much that there was very little arterial blood flow getting to the tips of the toes. You can get discoloration," Sanford Dr. Patrick Kelly said.

While it's rare to have the condition as extreme as Versteeg, between three to five in 100 people actually have the syndrome.

"It typically is triggered by being exposed to pretty significant cold, so in the winter time we see the problem not uncommonly. But not usually to the extent that people have open sores," Kelly said.

In fact, Versteeg's condition was so extreme that she decided to have an operation to correct the problem. Kelly made several small incisions in her abdominal area and used laparoscopic tools and a camera to navigate to nerves that sit right on top of the spine near the kidneys.

"Then we ablate or cauterize or basically take out of commission about a five centimeter length of nerve," Kelly said.

"Dr. Kelly was telling us the second he cauterized the nerve my feet were pink and my feet were normal," Versteeg said.

Versteeg only had to spend a night in the hospital and this month she got to show off her post-surgery feet during a Spring Break trip to South Padre Island.

"It was amazing to be on the beach and be walking in warm sand and be able to feel that warm sand," Versteeg said.

Women are more likely to have Raynaud's disease. It's also more common in people who live in colder climates.

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