P.A.D or atherosclerosis:
- Is a narrowing or occlusion of the arteries
- This occurs in the legs, and it can affect the feet.
Symptoms of PAD:
- The most common symptom is claudication.
Claudication can feel like a dull cramp, fatigue or pain in your hip, thigh or calf muscles when walking, moving, or exercising and the cramps or pain goes away upon stopping activity. If this pain occurs each time you walk the same distance, the likelihood of the diagnosis increases.
- Rest pain or pain in the feet occurs when sleeping or with legs elevated, yet is relieved by dropping legs lower than your hips is another common symptom of PAD.
- PAD occurs frequently in diabetics. If you have nerve damage or neuropathy, your symptoms of PAD may be masked. PAD can lead to acute limb ischemia or gangrene.
PAD can lead to acute limb ischemia or gangrene. It is characterized by a lack of pulses in the feet, pain in the toes especially at rest, paleness to the foot especially with the leg above the heart, coldness or one foot cooler than the other foot, tingling or numbness in the foot, and paralysis. Your feet might feel better if your legs are lower than your heart because gravity may assist in the blood flow to the feet. So, if you find yourself sleeping sitting up because your feet feel better that way, you may be suffering from inadequate blood flow to your feet. Having PAD can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Early detection and treatment are essential.
Your Podiatrist can screen your feet for PAD. If you think you have PAD, stop smoking and or using tobacco immediately, control your glucose if you have diabetes, control your blood pressure and start an exercise program after consulting with your physician.
Proper foot care if you have PAD:
- Wear appropriate footwear
- Do a daily foot inspection
- Use a moisturizer daily
- Any skin lesions or ulcers should be addressed immediately
- See your Podiatrist for preventive education, evaluation and treatment.