Do you have pain or cramping in your lower limbs when you walk? Does the pain diminish as soon as you stop walking and rest for a bit? What about cold feet: is one foot always colder than the other? These are some of the symptoms of a condition podiatrists, Craig B. Frey, DPM, and Megan L. Oltmann, DPM refer to as peripheral arterial disease or PAD.
PAD is a form of atherosclerosis, more commonly known as hardening of the arteries. The arteries that supply blood to your lower limbs can become filled with plaque. This narrows the vessels, making it harder for blood to flow through them. When blood can’t get to your lower legs and feet, the muscles there aren’t properly nourished. They’re literally starving for the blood flow that helps them function. Starving muscles can make your limbs hurt, feel heavy, and get tired quickly.
Who’s at risk?
- Peripheral arterial disease is more likely to strike
- people over age 50
- those with high cholesterol or high blood pressure
Untreated, PAD can eventually lead to tissue death (gangrene). Diabetics are especially at risk for PAD. It’s one of the leading causes of foot and toe amputations. Even more alarming is the fact that if you’ve got blocked arteries in your legs, it’s quite possible that you’ve got blocked arteries elsewhere, such as your heart. PAD puts you at a much higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.
That’s why we recommend that anyone experiencing ongoing pain in their lower legs and feet make an appointment with us. Let Dr. Oltmann and Dr. Frey evaluate you for PAD. If we confirm a diagnosis, you’ll need to make some urgent lifestyle changes to stop the progression of the blockages. Lifestyle changes include taking prescribed medications, losing weight, getting your cholesterol levels down, and quitting your smoking habit. Advanced cases may require surgery to open up the blocked arteries.
Foot and Ankle Associates of Cleveland welcomes your inquiries about PAD and all other difficulties you may be having with foot pain. Our modern podiatry office is located in the beautiful Cleveland suburb of Solon, Ohio. You can reach us by phone at (440) 903-1041 or online.