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Peripheral Artery Disease Symptoms

What are the Symptoms of PAD?

There are several symptoms that can be an indication of peripheral artery disease (PAD), especially as the condition reaches its later stages. However, many people with PAD have no symptoms at all, so it is important that you visit your doctor for regular cardiovascular assessments if you are considered to be at high risk for PAD.

When symptoms do occur, they can be disruptive to everyday life and lead to complications down the road. The symptoms of PAD can be caused by a variety of conditions, so it is important that you work with a vascular specialist if you suspect you may have PAD. They will be able to accurately assess you and guide you on the right next steps. American Endovascular works with patients to help them address PAD and its symptoms and live healthier lives.

PAD Older Woman Massaging Leg Cramp

Common PAD Symptoms

Symptoms of PAD occur primarily due to the fact that the buildup of plaque in the arteries limits blood and oxygen flow to the limbs and other parts of the body. When the muscles and tissues in the limbs are not able to get the nutrients they need, especially when they are active, your body will let you know. If you experience any of the following symptoms, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with American Endovascular so we can help you determine their cause and help you live more comfortably.

Leg Pain

Leg pain is the classic symptom of PAD. The pain associated with PAD occurs during physical activity and resolves with rest. This symptom is also called claudication. PAD causes pain during physical activity because when the legs are moving, they need more oxygen than when they are at rest. Claudication most commonly occurs in the calf, and the pain can range from mild to severe.

Leg Discoloration

Along with pain, leg discoloration is a sign that PAD may be present. The poor circulation associated with PAD can cause blood vessels near the surface of the skin to burst, discoloring the legs. Arterial ulcers and tissue damage associated with PAD can also cause leg discoloration. If you have leg discoloration caused by PAD, you may notice that your legs look red, purple, or blue, or that there is hyperpigmentation (darker patches of skin) on the legs.

Leg Numbness

Leg numbness is another PAD symptom caused by poor circulation and blockage of arteries. When the legs are not able to get the blood and oxygen they need, this can manifest as a numb or tingling sensation that is persistent and most likely accompanied by other symptoms. Numbness in the legs caused by PAD can also extend to the feet and toes.

Leg Weakness

Those with PAD may experience leg weakness that is accompanied by pain or muscle atrophy, or that occurs with physical activity and resolves with rest. The slowing of circulation to the legs and their lack of blood and oxygen flow can lead to weakness. Leg weakness is considered a symptom of more severe PAD, so proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial to avoid further complications.

Non-Healing Wounds

Wounds need resources from the body in order to heal, with help from the blood vessels, immune system, and skin tissues. PAD limits the flow of blood throughout the body, which means that wound sites may not be able to get access to the nutrients they need to heal. Non-healing wounds associated with PAD are often found on the legs, feet, and ankles.

Poor Circulation

When PAD is present, plaque builds up in the arteries, limiting or blocking the flow of blood and oxygen to the extremities. This is the core mechanism of poor circulation. Poor circulation blocks the legs from receiving the blood and oxygen they need to keep up with their demand, especially during physical activity. Poor circulation can lead to other complications as well, such as infection from a wound that is unable to heal.

PAD Woman Grabbing Legs
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Early PAD Symptoms

The first stage of PAD is called the Asymptomatic stage, so most people with early PAD will not experience symptoms. However, as the condition moves into its second stage, symptoms may begin to occur. These can include:

  • Claudication (leg pain during exercise)
  • Burning or aching in the feet and toes while resting
  • Cold skin on the feet
  • Leg discoloration and redness
  • Wounds on the legs or feet that will not heal

Advanced PAD Symptoms

As PAD worsens, symptoms become more severe and can lead to dangerous complications, such as limb amputation, heart attack, or stroke. The third stage of PAD, Critical Limb Ischemia, is a chronic condition and should be properly addressed to avoid serious threats to health. Symptoms of advanced PAD can include:

  • Severe pain or tingling in the feet or toes
  • Atrophy of the calf muscles
  • Hair loss on the toes and feet
  • Skin that is tight and shiny
  • Slow healing, painful, black ulcers on the feet or toes

PAD Symptoms FAQ

What Does PAD Feel Like?

In many cases, PAD does not cause any symptoms at all, especially in the early stages. PAD can build up over a lifetime, and symptoms may not occur until the condition is in its later stages. Those at a higher risk for PAD, such as those with diabetes, are encouraged to have regular cardiovascular checkups to monitor their vascular health.

When symptoms of PAD are present, you may feel pain, weakness, and numbness in the legs, calf, or foot throughout your day. The pain associated with PAD occurs during physical activity and usually goes away with rest. When discomfort occurs during rest, it normally feels like a burning or aching in the toes. Your skin may also feel cooler than normal.

What Does PAD Look Like?

PAD affects both the inside and outside of the body. If you were able to see the arteries of someone with PAD, you would see a buildup of plaque that narrows the artery and restricts the flow of blood that is necessary for proper circulation and vascular health.

External symptoms of PAD you or others may notice include leg discoloration, a slowing or ceasing of leg hair or toenail growth, and wounds on the legs and feet that heal slowly (or don’t heal at all). It is important to recognize the symptoms of PAD so that you can receive proper diagnosis and treatment as early in the course of the disease as possible.

What Happens if PAD Goes Untreated?

PAD should never be left untreated. As the condition worsens, blockage of the arteries increases, meaning that at a certain point, blood and oxygen flow could be cut off completely. Untreated PAD can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening complications, including amputation, heart attack, and stroke.

Untreated PAD can also lead to poor quality of life via severe leg pain that limits daily activity and mobility, along with open sores on the legs and feet. Those with untreated PAD may find walking and even standing to be incredibly difficult due to their pain.

Our Vascular Specialists

At American Endovascular, our affiliated vascular specialists work with patients to help them identify the signs and symptoms of PAD and gain access to proper treatment. Our team represents the “best of the best” in pad treatment in NJ and NY, and we are proud to be recognized as innovators and leaders in our field. We want to help all those with PAD live healthier and happier lives.

Our Vascular Centers in NY & NJ

If you are experiencing symptoms of PAD or are at high risk for the condition, we encourage you to visit one of our vascular centers for comprehensive care today. We proudly serve patients in New York and New Jersey with minimally-invasive treatment options for PAD and its related complications. Each of our offices is equipped with the latest technologies so that we can help patients tackle PAD and live more comfortably.

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71 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
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28-18 31st Street
Queens, NY 11102
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505 East 116th Street
Harlem, NY 10029
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347 Mount Pleasant Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
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I love this place stuff is helpful an they all were nice. I had a wonderful experience Dr Shams was great.
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I like the doctor they were kind of pretty thorough he says that he could help me he found out the filter in my abdomen from the surgery I had in 1996 has been clogging my blood flow for 25 years and that’s causing the swelling at every other doctor told me was lymphedema it was not lymphedema it caused the lymphedema because no other doctor took the time or care enough to find out the reason for my leg swelling this doctor was the only one who finally found out and he’s going to see if you could put a stent inside the filter to open it up and and stop my legs from swelling hopefully this will all go good it hasn’t happened yet but I’ll keep you posted thankful for this docto I just pray and hope that it works otherwise I like the doctor very much
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Dr Shams was very attentive and explained everything in detail. The staff was very nice, the staff/nurse were all so very helpful, It was a Monday morning and I didn’t expect such happy staff.
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He puts his patients before himself, returning calls and e-mails quickly. Not only is he kind and considerate, he is an excellent physician. I had to have a procedure that requires me to be awake, and he talked me through it and kept me at ease. If I could give him more stars, I would.
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This has been the best medical experience I’ve had in over thirty years. I was nervous to have a procedure after only knowing about my condition a year ago. They made this process so easy for me that I’m in shock that I had no pain, no discomfort thanks to an excellent doctor and professional staff! Thank you all and best of luck to your practice.
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This was the best experience I have had in such a long time and I have had quite a few procedures in the past both in patient and out including the procedure I was currently present for. No other surgeon has been so kind, transparent, and gentle. Not only did he personally come out beforehand to provide me with education on my procedure, but he talked me through every step of the way and made me feel so comfortable and relaxed. Not to mention his amazing staff! Despite being extremely nervous they kept me smiling and laughing throughout the whole process. 10/10 would recommend. Thank you so much guys!!
Riah L.
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Remigio Ruda
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03:28 31 Jan 23
Very knowledgeable, personable and professional. I came to Dr. Mobley to correct another surgeons work and I was pleased with the outcome. There is a Hispanic woman that runs things in the O.R.She is great! The whole staff is wonderful and caring.Highly recommend
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Lillian Rodriguez
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