Tuesday, 23 January 2024 00:00

How Peripheral Artery Disease Affects the Feet

Peripheral artery disease, or PAD, is a condition akin to coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease. It affects arteries outside the heart and brain, particularly in the legs and feet. Peripheral artery disease involves the accumulation of fatty deposits on the inner linings of artery walls, narrowing the arteries and impeding blood flow. This reduction in blood circulation causes pain during activities such as walking, in addition to slow healing foot wounds, temperature disparities between feet, and potential development of gangrene. Severe cases may necessitate removal of the affected toe, foot, or leg. Individuals with diabetes face an elevated risk of PAD, which is further heightened by additional factors, including being overweight or obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, and high blood pressure. In addition, those with high LDL cholesterol, a family history of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, or a previous history of coronary artery disease or stroke are at higher risk of developing PAD. Early detection and intervention along with lifestyle changes, medication, and, in some instances, surgical procedures, can effectively manage PAD. If you have symptoms or risk factors of peripheral artery disease, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist who is specially trained to manage this condition. 

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 one of our podiatrists from Garnet & Carbonell, DPM, LLC. Our doctors 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 offices located in Palmetto Bay, South Miami, and Homestead, FL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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