Q: Can a foot examination reveal Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)?
A: Podiatrists have the ability to discover indications of PAD in a foot exam before serious problems occur. PAD is a narrowing or clogging of arteries in the legs caused by plaque. Due to the blocking of blood vessels in the legs, patients with PAD are more prone to foot complications. Cuts, sores, or blisters will be slow to heal due to the lack of blood flow. Early signs of PAD and diabetes can be detected. It is important that pain in the feet and legs not be ignored, but rather discussed with your podiatrist.
Common signs of PAD include:
• Fatigue or pain in the feet and legs during walking
• Foot or toe pain at rest that often disturbs sleep
• Wounds or ulcers on the feet and toes that are slow to heal
People over the age of 50, smokers, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of the disease are at high risk for PAD.