Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is one of the most common blood circulation problems, and it is characterized by a narrowing of the arteries. The process happens very slowly, and symptoms are often overlooked until the disease is more widespread. Since the extremities are often the first areas to be affected by PAD, noticing problems in your feet and ankles can help catch the condition earlier before major complications occur.
The narrowing of the arteries that is caused by this disease can cause many symptoms in your lower legs, feet, and ankles, including the following:
- Muscle cramps and pain—These symptoms are often more noticeable after exercising or other physical stress.
- Wounds heal more slowly—The reduced circulation caused by PAD slows down your immune system making scrapes, bruises, and other wounds heal much more slowly. This is particularly bad for diabetic patients who may already be experiencing wound healing problems due to peripheral neuropathy.
- Slower growth of hair and nails—The reduced blood flow also slows down the growth of your hair and nails.
- Changes in skin texture and color—Your skin becomes rough and dry due to the blood circulation decreases and coloration may be affected.
- Increasing pain in the lower legs, feet, and ankles—The advent of the lower leg, ankle, and foot pain is often more pronounced at night and can cause sleep interruptions.
- Lower body temperature of the legs and feet—The temperature in your legs and feet will tend to feel colder even on hot days.
If you are experiencing signs in your feet of peripheral artery disease, see your foot doctor for a complete exam, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations. Schedule an appointment with the Foot First Podiatry Center in New Albany, IN. Our highly qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha, D.P.M., is dedicated to providing the best diagnostic care and medical treatment for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!