Tuesday, 14 December 2021 00:00

Ways to Treat Peripheral Vascular Disease

When someone experiences peripheral vascular disease, (also called peripheral artery disease, or PAD), the primary cause is a decrease of blood flow to a body part other than the brain or heart. This is usually caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in the artery. Most commonly it affects the legs, feet, and toes causing pain, cramping, numbness, tingling, coldness, and wounds that won’t heal. If left untreated it can lead to more serious conditions, including gangrene. Unfortunately, many symptoms often are noticed only after the condition has become serious. Risk factors include diabetes, obesity, smoking, and sedentary living. Several actions can help reduce symptoms, including managing diabetes and high blood pressure, losing weight, ceasing smoking, exercising regularly, and eating low-fat, high-fiber foods. If pain continues or gets worse, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist who can review medical treatment and surgical procedures available to widen the blood vessels.

Peripheral artery disease can pose a serious risk to your health. It can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. If you have symptoms of peripheral artery disease, consult with Dr. Jim Maxka from South Penn Foot & Ankle Associates. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is when arteries are constricted due to plaque (fatty deposits) build-up. This results in less blood flow to the legs and other extremities. The main cause of PAD is atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the arteries.


Symptoms of PAD include:

  • Claudication (leg pain from walking)
  • Numbness in legs
  • Decrease in growth of leg hair and toenails
  • Paleness of the skin
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sores and wounds on legs and feet that won’t heal
  • Coldness in one leg

It is important to note that a majority of individuals never show any symptoms of PAD.


While PAD occurs in the legs and arteries, Podiatrists can diagnose PAD. Podiatrists utilize a test called an ankle-brachial index (ABI). An ABI test compares blood pressure in your arm to you ankle to see if any abnormality occurs. Ultrasound and imaging devices may also be used.


Fortunately, lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, managing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and quitting smoking, can all treat PAD. Medications that prevent clots from occurring can be prescribed. Finally, in some cases, surgery may be recommended.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Hanover, PA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Peripheral Artery Disease

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