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Why Are My Legs Painful?

It’s a question we often hear from patients. If you have painful legs you may be suffering from a condition called Peripheral Arterial Disease, commonly referred to as P.A.D.


Peripheral Arterial Disease is a condition in which the arteries become blocked by a buildup of fatty deposits. This causes arteries to narrow and harden, restricting blood flow to the legs and feet, resulting in poor circulation. Other signs and symptoms of P.A.D. include:


  • Cramping and pain that occurs when walking

  • Cramping and pain that occurs while at rest

  • Numbness or weakness in legs

  • Cold legs and/or feet

  • Wounds on the feet, ankle, and legs that do not heal, or are very slow to heal


If you have any of these symptoms you should discuss them with your podiatrist. If left untreated P.A.D. can lead to serious consequences.

Only about half of all patients suffering from Peripheral Arterial Disease experience symptoms. Because of this it is important to get tested for P.A.D. if you have any of the following risk factors:


  • Over the age of 50

  • Smoking (either currently or in the past)

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Family history of P.A.D., heart attack, heart disease, or stroke

  • Sedentary lifestyle


Fortunately treatments for Peripheral Arterial Disease are mostly lifestyle changes. If you have been diagnosed with P.A.D. your physician will recommend the following :


  • Regular exercise. At least 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week can greatly improve cardiovascular health.

  • Heart healthy diet. A diet low in fat, sugar, and red meat, but high in fruits, vegetable and white meat (such as fish) can help treat P.A.D.

  • Quitting smoking. This is a lifestyle change that boasts numerous benefits.

  • If the above lifestyle changes are not sufficient then your physician may prescribe medications or in rare cases a surgical intervention.


If you or a loved one is experience swelling and pain in the legs please schedule an appointment with your nearest Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC location. We have 18 locations throughout southern Georgia and coastal South Carolina, with kind and caring doctors and staff who will work diligently to get you back on your feet and enjoying life again.

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