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How Peripheral Arterial Disease Affects the Feet

Tuesday, 25 May 2021 00:00

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when the outer, or peripheral, arteries narrow due to a build-up of plaque. Peripheral arteries transport blood—which carries oxygen and nutrients—to the legs and arms, keeping the skin and underlying tissue alive and healthy. When PAD is present in the legs, it can reduce the normal amount of blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to the feet. This may lead to dysfunction in the skin and tissue, causing it to break down and make it more susceptible to developing wounds. PAD can be an inherited disease, or may be caused by diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or obesity. Symptoms of PAD in the feet may include burning, aching, coolness, redness, reoccurring infections, and sores in the toes and feet that do not heal. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a podiatrist for a full examination, testing, diagnosis and proper treatment.

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. James Kutchback from James Kutchback, DPM, ABLES, CWS-P. 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 offices located in The Woodlands and Woodville, TX . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Peripheral Artery Disease