Leg Pain Could be a Sign of a Vascular Issue

You may believe the cramping pain in your calves that occurs when you walk up the stairs or take a short stroll around the block is due to aging or general deconditioning. That could be true. Often, however, it’s a warning sign that something’s gone wrong with the arteries supplying vital blood flow to the muscles, nerves, and other tissue structures in your legs.

Dr. Farouk Marzouk is a widely respected vascular surgeon with a busy practice, Frontier Medical Care, in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn in New York City. Dr. Marzouk has a stellar reputation for accurately diagnosing and treating vascular issues, such as leg pain that’s associated with peripheral artery disease (PAD).

Here’s what this talented specialist has to say about leg pain and why you should take it seriously.

What does leg pain have to do with peripheral artery disease?

Many people are familiar with the effects of cardiovascular disease and the accompanying risk of blocked or narrowed arteries restricting blood flow to the heart. The chest pain associated with a heart attack is a sign that your heart muscle may not be receiving enough blood to function normally.

The same is true with leg pain and its possible connection to peripheral artery disease (PAD). The peripheral arteries supply blood to your extremities. When these arteries narrow due to plaque buildup, your muscles and other tissues react with pain.

In this case, you could view leg pain as helpful; it’s a warning from your body that your circulatory system needs medical attention.

How do I know the pain isn’t just related to aging?

It’s true that aging and/or deconditioning can cause aches and pains in your joints or soreness in your muscles during and after physical activities like climbing the stairs. However, the pain associated with PAD is different.

The discomfort develops in your muscles, typically the calves, and not in the joints. Also, it frequently occurs during activities such as walking, and subsides once you stop and rest. As the disease progresses, however, the pain can become constant.

Calf pain is not the only symptom of lower extremity PAD. Other signs include:

Men may also experience erectile dysfunction due to hampered blood flow associated with PAD.

What is the treatment for PAD?

Because it may signal widespread artery disease and can lead to increasing and debilitating pain, tissue death (gangrene), and even limb amputation, it’s important that you receive adequate therapy for PAD.

Fortunately, there are many effective treatments available to correct the restricted blood flow associated with this disease and improve your overall health.

Depending on the extent of the disease, you may benefit from conservative measures such as:

At Frontier Medical Care, we also offer minimally invasive procedures to open narrowed arteries, including angioplasty with or without stenting.

As with most medical conditions, the key to effective PAD treatment often involves catching the disease early.

If you’re experiencing leg pain that may be associated with PAD, schedule an evaluation with a top-rated vascular specialist. Call our office today or book your visit online. 

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