When you think about the kinds of issues a podiatrist treats, you may not immediately think of vascular conditions. However, if the blood flow to your feet is restricted, your podiatrist may be the first person to notice. 

Dr. Richard Nichols and Dr. Joseph Harvey have the knowledge and tools to detect a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD alone isn’t life-threatening, however, it’s closely associated with heart disease, stroke, and other conditions that can be deadly. 

Symptoms You May Not Notice

If you have PAD, you may not have any symptoms at all, or if you do have symptoms, you may not recognize them. For example, the most common symptom is cramping in your calves, called claudication, when you walk or climb stairs. If you don’t exercise often or regularly, you may well mistake that cramping as muscle soreness. 

Some people experience pain in their hips or thighs, as well, and it may be more of a heavy feeling -- which is even harder to recognize -- or an aching or numb feeling. Regardless of what part of your leg or the exact sensation, if you experience discomfort when you walk, you may want to pay a visit to Alliance Foot and Ankle Specialists!

Other symptoms include: 

  • Very slow-healing sores or wounds on your feet
  • A weak pulse in your feet
  • Changing color of your feet, such as a pale or blue-tint to your skin
  • Slow-growing nails and hair on your feet and ankles
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

Factors That Put You at Risk for PAD

Like many other medical conditions, some factors make it more likely you’ll develop PAD. Happily, some of them are within your control! 

The primary risk factor for PAD is smoking. If you’re a smoker, you should stop. If you’re a smoker who experiences leg cramps when walking, you should stop and make an appointment at Alliance Foot and Ankle Specialists, so you can be screened for PAD. 

Other risk factors include: 

  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being older than 50 years of age
  • A family history of heart disease or stroke

Treatments

The first line of treatment for PAD is usually adjusting your lifestyle by quitting smoking, changing your diet, and exercising more often. You may also need to take drugs to help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. 

If claudication is a problem that prevents you from exercising, we have a solution that may help. Our Implantable Neurostimulator Pulse Generator is a device that can interrupt the pain signals that cause the cramping feeling in your legs. 

If you’re concerned about PAD because you either have symptoms or risk factors, book an appointment at Alliance Foot and Ankle Specialists. We have two locations for your convenience, one in Grapevine and another in Keller. Simply call the location that works best for you, and we’ll be happy to get you on the schedule. 

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