You won’t be surprised to hear that leg pain has a multitude of causes, but there’s only one type of leg pain that signals a serious vascular disease. The team at North Jersey Vascular Center in Clifton, New Jersey, specializes in diagnosing and treating leg pain associated with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), working closely with you to improve your health and relieve your pain so you can return to the activities you love. If you have leg pain when walking, don’t wait to get help. Call the office to schedule an appointment today.
When you experience leg pain that’s not due to overuse, strains, or an injury, your pain may be a red flag alerting you to problems associated with:
PAD develops over time as cholesterol builds up on the arterial wall and causes plaque, a condition called atherosclerosis. As plaque enlarges and hardens, the artery narrows and interferes with blood flow through the artery.
When blood flow is restricted, the muscles in your leg don’t receive enough oxygen to support muscle activity. Your legs feel fine when you’re at rest because inactivity doesn’t require much oxygen.
But as soon as you start walking, your leg muscles suddenly demand more oxygen. When they don’t get it because blood flow is blocked, you develop pain. Oxygen deprivation also leads to muscle fatigue, so even if your pain is moderate, you won’t be able to tolerate much activity.
This pattern of pain when walking, relief while at rest, then pain the next time you walk, is a condition called intermittent claudication.
Once you have intermittent claudication, you feel pain in the same muscle groups every time you walk. Your leg pain gradually gets worse as your PAD progresses.
Depending on the severity of your PAD, you may experience other symptoms, such as:
In severe cases of PAD, you have leg pain even when you rest, and you’re at risk of developing a complication called critical limb ischemia. Critical limb ischemia develops when a non-healing sore or ulcer causes an infection that kills the affected tissues.
Your provider at North Jersey Vascular Center assesses the severity of your PAD and develops an individualized treatment plan to prevent the condition from worsening and relieve your leg pain.
Many patients can manage their PAD with lifestyle changes and medications. If your leg pain continues despite conservative therapies, your provider may recommend minimally invasive endovascular procedures to open the blockage.
At the first sign of persistent leg pain while walking, call North Jersey Vascular Center or schedule an appointment online.