Leg pain is a common symptom of peripheral vascular diseases. To determine if you have a condition like chronic venous insufficiency, peripheral arterial disease, or deep vein thrombosis, see fellowship-trained cardiologists A. Adnan Aslam, MD, FACC, FSCAI, and Roy Norman, DO, of Northwest Houston Heart Center. They have offices in Tomball, Cypress, Magnolia, and The Woodlands, Texas, and provide cutting-edge diagnostic services and minimally invasive treatments for the causes of leg pain. Find out how they can help you by calling your nearest office or booking an appointment online today.
Musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis and injuries to the legs are among the most common causes of leg pain. However, vascular disorders also account for many occurrences of leg pain. Vascular diseases that could be causing your leg pain include:
CVI is a common vein disease that affects the valves in your leg veins that form part of the one-way system guiding blood back to your heart. If the valves get too weak or damaged to form a seal each time blood pumps up your leg, the blood can leak back and start to pool in your veins. The most obvious sign of CVI is swollen, twisted varicose veins on your legs.
Patients with CVI get one of the following symptoms: leg pain, achy legs, leg or ankle swelling, causing indentation by the socks or when someone presses on their skin in the ankle areas, and restless legs. If this condition is untreated in advanced stages, this condition can lead to skin pigmentation, ulcer, blisters, and nonhealing wounds.
Vein disease runs in families and occurs due to hereditary reasons. It can occur more commonly in people who stand a lot for their work and in women after childbirth, especially in women who have multiple children, but it is also quite common in men due to hereditary reasons or the nature of their jobs.
PAD develops if you have atherosclerosis in the arteries serving your legs. Atherosclerosis results from a build-up of sticky, fatty plaque that narrows and hardens your arteries and reduces blood flow to your legs.
Lack of blood means there's insufficient oxygen in your muscles, which leads to claudication. This telling symptom of PAD causes leg pain when you walk that gets better when you rest.
A DVT is a blood clot in the deep leg veins that partially or wholly blocks the vein, preventing blood from returning to your heart. A clot can break off and travel to your organs, triggering potentially life-threatening problems like a pulmonary embolism in your lungs. This is an easily treatable condition if diagnosed in time.
Damage to your blood vessels due to conditions like CVI (vein disease) and PAD (arterial disease) can lead to ulcers or wounds developing on your legs. These chronic wounds develop when the blood vessels and tissues start to break down, leaving raw, painful sores that are often difficult to heal.
As well as leg pain, you might experience skin discoloration and leg swelling. These develop as fluid builds in the legs and feet and the tissues start to deteriorate.
Diagnosing leg pain begins with your Northwest Houston Heart Center provider looking at your medical history, current health, and lifestyle. They perform a physical exam and check for swelling, varicose veins, discoloration, and other signs of venous disease.
The next step is determining how well blood is flowing in your legs and pinpoint any blockages. To achieve this, your provider at Northwest Houston Heart Center can use diagnostic tests such as an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test, Doppler ultrasound, or arterial angiogram.
Treating your condition effectively depends on the cause of your leg pain. Examples of the treatments you might require include:
If you have leg ulcers, you need specialized wound care to promote healing and address any infection.
For expert diagnosis and treatment of leg pain, call Northwest Houston Heart Center today or book an appointment online.