Are you suffering from chronic leg pain?

Do you have risk factors such as Diabetes, Hypertension, High Cholesterol?

Most of us experiencing leg pain that is persistent for a few months or years during the day to day routine activities would assume that it may be a sign of normal aging or due to Arthritis. Few of them would attribute it to a minor sprain or a pulled muscle.

The reason for chronic leg pain and sudden onset of severe disabling leg pain in such individuals can have a significant impact on your day to day life and overall health.

Though there may be various causes for leg pain, one should learn and know that such regular muscular pain while walking can be due to an underlying potential serious Vascular condition known as Peripheral Artery disease(PAD).   

Read on to understand more about Vascular Leg pain and what you need to do if your symptoms are associated with Peripheral Arterial disease.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a disease affecting your Vascular system,( namely the Arteries) causing walking disability due to inadequate perfusion to meet demands of muscle metabolism as a result of blocked Arteries triggering Vascular leg pain. This condition occurs when there is an Accumulation of large amounts of cholesterol in the arterial wall known as Artherosclerosis.

Early stages of PAD may show symptoms of leg ache or throbbing pain in the thigh or calf muscle. This pain sometimes disappears with rest and recurs next time with walking known as Claudication pain (Vascular Pain).

Left untreated, these individuals progress into an advanced stage of PAD known as CRITICAL LIMB ISCHEMIA(CLI) as a result of completely blocked blood flow to the legs causing incapacitating leg pain, rest pain, and non-healing leg ulcers. Eventually, 40% of such patients lose their legs without intervention.

By reducing their walking they further actually worsen their risk of heart attacks (MI), stroke, and death since Artherosclerosis is a progressive condition with widespread involvement in the Arterial system.      

Symptoms Of PAD / Vascular Leg Pain Vs Non Vascular Leg Pain:

Symptoms Of Pad;

  1. Intermittent Claudication (leg Muscle pain after walking and disappears with rest).
  2. Incapacitating leg pain (inability to walk short distances)
  3. Rest pain
  4. Nonhealing leg ulcers
  5. Numbness in legs
  6. Weak pulses in lower limbs
  7. Muscle wasting and weakness
  8. Loss of hair in legs.

Chronic leg pain or ulcers that don’t seem to heal on their own should be evaluated by a vascular surgeon.

PAD is a progressive disease and without treatment, it can get worse.

Non Vascular leg pain

Other potential causes of leg pain not associated with the circulatory system are;

  1. Arthritis
  2. Muscle sprains and strain
  3. Torn or ruptured tendon
  4. Fracture
  5. Bursitis
  6. Tendonitis
  7. Sciatica
  8. Remote Trauma
  9. Varicose veins

A vascular specialist can evaluate your symptoms and diagnose if a vascular condition is the underlying cause of leg pain. Early diagnosis and treatment of PAD can eliminate limb threatening and life threatening complications.

Treatment of PAD requires a complex treatment strategy with lifelong follow up to identify further progression. Vascular surgeons prescribe a combination of treatment protocols from Medications to lifestyle changes to address control of risk factors such as Diabetes, Hypertension (Blood pressure control), Lowering cholesterol, Preventing blood clots, and improve circulation.

If blood flow is severely affected, the patient may need a minimally invasive interventional procedure to restore blood supply Peripheral Bypass surgery, or a combination of both procedures, depending on the extent of a block with vascular medications.

Don’t Ignore Vascular Leg Pain

PAD is a progressive disease and it will be tempting to ignore leg pain, aches, and cramps which when identified early can save limbs and life.