Leg pain is not always a part of getting older

Learn the warning signs of peripheral arterial disease

Do your legs hurt when you go for a walk or even just when you’re running errands? Or maybe it seems like you have poor circulation in your legs. If so, you could be describing peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a common type of vascular disease.

“PAD can be a devastating disease as many people with the disease don’t know that they have it,” says vascular surgeon  William Omlie, MD. “The problem is that PAD develops over time and with minimal symptoms. The signs that do show up are often chalked up as simply part of getting older.”

What is PAD?

PAD occurs when arteries in the legs become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits, reducing blood flow to the legs. This can result in leg pain when walking, disability, poor quality of life and amputation. Blocked arteries found in people with PAD can be a red flag—meaning that there could be other blocked arteries such as those in the heart and brain, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

“Early detection and treatment for PAD is critical, not only for improving quality of life, but also for simply staying alive. People with PAD are two to six times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke,” continues Dr. Omlie.

Symptoms and risk factors

Symptoms of PAD may include:

  • Cramps, fatigue, heaviness or pain in your leg muscles (calf, thigh or buttocks) when you walk, but goes away with rest
  • Foot or toe pain at rest that often disturbs your sleep
  • Cooling of skin in specific areas of legs or feet
  • Toe or foot sores that are slow to heal

Anyone more than 50 years of age is at risk for PAD, but a person’s risk increases if he or she:

  • Smokes or used to smoke
  • Has diabetes
  • Has high blood pressure
  • Has high blood cholesterol
  • Is African American
  • Has a personal history of coronary heart disease or stroke


Our team of vascular medicine specialists offers an advanced approach to the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease to improve the quality of life for our patients. Treatment for PAD may include lifestyle changes and medication. In some cases, a special procedure or surgery is needed to help improve blood flow to your legs.

Schedule a consultation

If you’re at risk for PAD or experiencing symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor. An appointment with our vascular specialists includes a consultation and further testing if necessary. Call 952-929-6994 to set up an appointment.

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