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4 Telltale Signs of PAD

Imagine a sticky plaque that consists of fats and cholesterol accumulating on the artery walls in your legs and causing circulation problems, pain, and other symptoms. This describes peripheral artery disease (PAD), and it sounds serious because it is.

Unfortunately, PAD increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. In an unpleasant twist, having diabetes also raises your risk for PAD. The overlap doesn’t stop there, though. About 20-30% of 10 million Americans with PAD also live with diabetes, and diabetes can both hasten the onset of PAD symptoms and exacerbate them.

Our team of podiatrists at Premier Foot & Ankle is highly experienced in treating PAD in the most advanced ways. Our PAD treatment is often accompanied by expert diabetic foot care, and it’s always completely customized and designed to relieve your specific symptoms.

The major indicators of PAD

PAD risk factors include increasing age, Hispanic or African American heritage, and living with diabetes or nerve damage. The longer you’ve had diabetes, the greater your PAD risk. Finally, if you have a family history of heart disease or PAD, you should be more concerned.

Modifiable PAD risk factors include being sedentary, overweight, and having high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as being a smoker. Losing weight, improving your diet, quitting smoking, and moving more are all things you can do to lower your PAD odds. 

Though an individual can experience diverse PAD symptoms, there are four hallmarks you should know about. We believe educating you about foot and ankle conditions is as important as diagnosing and treating them as we aim to be partners in your care.

1. Leg pain that improves after rest

Your doctor may suspect PAD if you complain of pain, achiness, or cramping when you walk (claudication), especially if it’s eased by taking a break. You might feel this discomfort in your calf or thigh, but you may also notice it in your buttock or hip.

People with a severe level of PAD don’t even get pain breaks when they rest.

2. Leg muscle weakening

If your legs continually feel fatigued, you may have PAD-related muscle atrophy. You might also notice numbness.

These symptoms can cause worrisome complications, including balance problems and gait (the way you walk) issues.

3. Appearance and sensory changes

Noticeable visual differences that can be attributed to PAD include your foot or leg looking paler or even having a blue tint, as well as swelling. Patients with PAD also experience hair loss on their legs and their toenails might stop growing. 

One of your feet may also feel colder than the other. 

4. Development of sores

Wounds can develop on your toes, feet, or legs that are slow to heal or simply won’t heal, which can set you up for infection. For a person living with diabetes, an infection can turn life-threatening quickly and may necessitate toe or lower leg amputation. 

Even though we just outlined four symptoms to know, many people with PAD have no symptoms at all, which puts them in a uniquely dangerous position since it’s critical to get PAD treated. 

Patients who have PAD symptoms can receive vascular testing via the PADnet® screening platform at Premier Foot & Ankle. With a definitive diagnosis, your podiatrist can craft a well-informed treatment plan. 

Innovative treatments for PAD

At Premier Foot & Ankle, we’re proud to provide innovative PAD treatments, including:

Depending on which treatment your podiatrist recommends, you can find relief by addressing conditions that put you at risk for PAD, getting treatment to relieve your swelling and pain, and learning how to prevent the development of PAD-related sores.

Contact one of our five convenient Texas locations to schedule an appointment today. Call our office or book online anytime.

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