Woman having leg injuryThere are many different diseases and disorders that can impact your feet, and you want to stay informed so that you can identify minor issues before they become more severe.

One condition is peripheral arterial disease (PAD).  If your doctor diagnoses you with PAD, it is always wise to get treatment information and learn how you can manage it.

What is Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Peripheral arterial disease is a disease that impacts the veins in your legs. Fatty tissue can build up in your veins, limiting blood flow, which can cause severe problems in the rest of your body, especially your feet. It can also cause blockagesor clots in your veins. Limiting or blocking blood flow is unsafe and leads to more serious complications and even hospitalization if you do not take care of it immediately.

If you think you have PAD, make sure to seek medical care before taking any treatment steps yourself. You need to make sure it is not something more severe. Peripheral arterial disease not only impacts the arteries in your legs, but can also impact the arteries around your heart and is commonly found in the aorta. This disease impacts 8 to 12 million Americans, but is manageable if diagnosed early. Untreated PAD can lead to leg amputations and is only second to diabetes in causing the majority of amputations. 

What are the Risk Factors?

There are a few risk factors that can make you more likely to develop peripheral arterial disease. These are:

  • High cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Not being physically active
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes

If you have any of these risk factors and the following symptoms, please seek medical care to begin proper treatment. 

What are the Symptoms?

There are some symptoms that can be indicators of peripheral arterial disease. If you have these, please call your primary care physician or podiatrist immediately. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Tired or exhausted legs when you walk. This exhaustion is stronger than usual and can happen when you walk only short distances.
  • Pain in your legs, including your thighs.
  • Any skin wounds or lesions that heal slowly or are not healing at all.
  • Experiencing pain in your toes or foot that makes it difficult to sleep or wakes you up in the middle of the night.

You should note that many people who suffer from PAD might not have pain or cramping. However, if you have any of the other symptoms, your doctor can perform tests to learn if you have PAD. These symptoms can also be for different conditions, including deep vein thrombosis. Never ignore your leg pain; always get it checked out. It is better to be safe and find out the pain is a simple muscle cramp than to not go and have it be more severe.

To learn if you have peripheral arterial disease, your doctor will perform a simple test called ankle-brachial index (ABI). This measures your blood pressure at your ankles. The doctor will the compare your ABI to blood pressure tests in your arm and make a diagnosis. 

How do you treat PAD?

The easiest way to treat peripheral arterial disease is through lifestyle changes. Doctors will often suggest that you involved in health programs to help you stop smoking, lose weight, or make diet changes. Wearing compression socks will help keep your feet and legs healthy, and wearing orthotic shoes can help promote long lasting health benefits. Simple health practices, such as maintaining your blood sugar if diabetic and partaking in exercise programs can help immensely with PAD. If PAD is more severe for you, you may need to take medications the help prevent blood clots.

If you are looking for great orthotic shoes to wear throughout your peripheral arterial disease treatment, then The Orthotic Shop is perfect for you! We have a great selection of shoes, and even compression socks to help keep you healthy. We also have a great selection of diabetic shoes! Take a look around and find the best shoes for you, today.