Tuesday, 19 December 2023 00:00

Peripheral Artery Disease and Foot Care

Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a vascular condition characterized by the narrowing or blockage of arteries, predominantly in the legs, resulting in reduced blood flow to the feet. This condition, often associated with hardening of the arteries, can significantly impact foot health and lead to various symptoms. Symptoms of peripheral artery disease may include leg pain, cramping, numbness, and skin discoloration. Generally, these symptoms develop when approximately 70 percent of the artery is blocked. Aging, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, obesity, physical inactivity, and family history are contributing factors. Men are generally more susceptible to PAD than women. Peripheral artery disease also can result from fibromuscular dysplasia, inflammation, or external pressure from nearby masses. The severity and nature of symptoms depend on the affected artery, degree of blockage, and whether it is a gradual narrowing or sudden blockage. Someone with peripheral artery disease may experience coldness in the lower leg or foot, numbness or weakness, absent or a weak pulse in the legs or feet, and shiny skin on the legs. One of the main dangers is in the formation of sores on the toes, feet, or legs that will not heal. These may develop into ulcers, which can engender severe foot or toe problems. If you have peripheral artery disease symptoms that are affecting your lower limbs and feet, it is suggested that you include a podiatrist as a member of your medical team. 

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 David A. Scalzo, DPM, PC and Associates. 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 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.


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.


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 our offices located in Duryea and Bangor, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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