Leg Pain: A Sign of Peripheral Artery Disease
Leg pain can be caused by countless ailments and injuries. Many people attribute their leg pain to the fact that they are getting older. However, leg pain is the classic symptom of peripheral artery disease (PAD) – a narrowing or blockage of the peripheral arteries that deliver blood to the legs. Although many people with PAD do not experience symptoms, it is important to identify symptoms when they are present and take action to prevent the condition from worsening.
PAD can develop throughout someone’s life. Early detection and treatment are crucial so that you can continue living a healthy life. If you are experiencing leg pain that you believe may be caused by peripheral artery disease, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at American Endovascular today.
Symptoms of Leg Pain
The leg pain caused by PAD has certain characteristics that distinguish it from other conditions (such as arthritis, muscle strain, or nerve injury). If you have symptoms of PAD you should bring your concerns to your doctor as early as possible. Symptoms of leg pain caused by PAD include:
- A recurring painful cramp or ache in the legs when walking, that disappears after a few minutes of rest
- Painful muscle cramping in the hips, thighs, or calves when walking, climbing stairs, or exercising
- Pain or numbness in the toes or feet at night, that may wake you from sleep, is only resolved by dangling the legs or standing
- Pain may affect one or both legs
Causes of Leg Pain
Leg pain can range from mild to severe; from a mere annoyance to something incredibly disruptive and debilitating. It is important to work with a doctor to determine the cause of your leg pain so that you can start the right treatment path and find relief. Some of the many causes of leg pain include:
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Muscle strain
- Nerve damage
- Stress fractures
- Varicose veins
How Does Peripheral Artery Disease Cause Leg Pain?
Since PAD causes issues with blood being carried to the legs, pain may initially occur during walking and exercise when the demand for blood flow and oxygen delivery is increased. This is called “intermittent claudication,” and may affect the buttocks, hips, thighs or calves (depending on the location of the blocked artery).
With increasing severity, there may be insufficient blood flow even at rest, particularly when the legs are elevated and gravity can’t help flow, and this may result in pain or numbness in the calf and foot with leg elevation, often waking someone from sleep. In the worst case, wounds may develop or not heal due to inadequate blood flow. Pain at rest and non-healing wounds are called “critical limb ischemia” or “CLI” and require urgent medical attention to avoid a possible amputation.
Find out if you are at risk for Peripheral Artery Disease.
Treatment for PAD-Related Leg Pain
If you are experiencing leg pain or any other symptoms associated with PAD, our specialists at American Endovascular are here for you. We offer several treatment methods for peripheral artery disease, taking your unique situation into account and ensuring that the treatment path we choose is suited to you. Our minimally-invasive treatments will help get you on track to healthier living.
Those with severe PAD can be at risk of losing a limb. When tissue damage is severe, amputation may be the only option. However, our specialists at American Endovascular are skilled at using innovative techniques and technologies, such as pedal loop intervention to salvage and preserve limbs and help patients avoid amputation whenever possible, even in the most advanced cases of PAD where amputation may have been advised.
During angioplasty, a low-profile catheter with an inflatable balloon is used to stretch the affected artery open. This process restores blood flow to the rest of the body. In cases where a clot is blocking the artery, medicine can be administered through the catheter.
Arterectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure that has evolved with cutting-edge advances including orbital, rotational, and diamond-coated surfaces technology. A catheter is inserted via a minimally-invasive incision in the artery. This process is ideal for treating arteries or blood vessels that are not easily treated with stents.
A stent is a metallic-based implantable device that is inserted into the artery to provide a “scaffold” to keep the artery open and restore blood flow. Certain stents may also have drug-eluting properties to prevent blood clotting and increase longevity.
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At American Endovascular, you will find a team of affiliated endovascular specialists who truly care about your health and wellbeing. The specialists at our vascular centers in NY and NJ are nationally recognized as innovators and leaders in vascular and interventional radiology, making all the difference for patients of all ages living with PAD.
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