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Is It Peripheral Artery Disease, or Something Else?

Tuesday, 02 November 2021 00:00

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that causes poor circulation in the feet and ankles. In many cases, people who suffer from PAD do not experience any symptoms. As the disease progresses, noticeable symptoms can appear. One of the first may be claudication, or cramping in the lower legs while walking. This occurs because the muscles in the lower legs are not receiving enough oxygen and nutrients from the blood. Muscle weakness usually follows. Not all leg cramps and weakness are indicative of PAD, however. There are other conditions that cause similar symptoms, such as deep vein thrombosis, traveler’s thrombosis, and various spinal problems. If you suffer from leg cramps, consult with a podiatrist today. 

Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with one of our podiatrists from InStride Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.

Symptoms

Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Claudication (leg pain from walking)
  • Numbness in legs
  • Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
  • Coldness in one leg

It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.

Diagnosis

While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.

Treatment

Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Mt Airy, Clemmons, Winston-Salem, King, Greensboro, and Siler City, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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