Foot & Ankle Peripheral Vascular Disease

Your body needs oxygen to survive. Oxygen is brought to your feet (and everywhere else) in your blood, which travels through your body from your heart through arteries. Arteries are like pipes that bring blood to your feet (and everywhere else). Peripheral vascular Disease (PVD or PAD) is a narrowing of blood vessels leading to decreased circulation in the lower extremity, which is similar to a pipe being partially or completely blocked. The blood vessels narrow due to plaque buildup or “hardening of arteries” causing decreased blood flow and oxygen to the lower limbs.

If blockages form they can cause changes in your feet and legs. Patients with PVD experience pain and aching in their legs, especially with activity. Common symptoms seen in patients with PVD are leg cramps increased by walking and relieved with rest, slow healing wounds, cold or cool temperature to the legs and feet, discolored nails and decreased hair growth on the feet.

Certain risk factors can increase the risk of getting PVD such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and greater than 60 years of age. A family history of vascular disease or stroke can also increase the risk of PVD. It is important to be aware of the common symptoms and risks as reduced blood flow increases the risk of gangrene and limb loss.

Early diagnosis and treatment is the first step to prevent life-threatening complications or limb loss. PVD is diagnosed with a history and physical exam as well as non-invasive vascular tests. Doing non-invasive vascular tests can give your physician more information about the blood flow into your legs. One such test is an arterial doppler that can be done in the office and uses sound waves to measure the blood flowing through your arteries.

Another more accurate testing procedure, called PVR and segmental pressures, is no worse than getting your blood pressure checked. These same type of blood pressure cuffs are put on your thighs, calves, ankles, feet, and sometimes your big toe.  The cuffs inflate and slowly deflate, recording the amount of blood that passes through your arteries. The entire procedure usually takes less than a half hour.

There are a variety of reasons that a doctor might order this type of testing such as:

  • a wound that will not heal
  • pain in your legs that limits how far you can walk
  • Inability to feel your foot pulse (your heartbeat) when they check your feet
 

The results of these tests determine the next steps in your treatment. Sometimes you may need to be referred to another physician such as a vascular surgeon or interventional cardiologist. Sometimes they need to do a procedure similar to a plumber unclogging a pipe. Some treatment options that may be discussed with you by the vascular specialist are stenting or angioplasty to balloon up the artery to increase blood flow. Open bypass may be considered to restore blood flow in severe cases. Other times you may only need to start a new medication and sometimes nothing more needs to be done. A discussion between you and your vascular specialist regarding the best treatment for you based on your history and condition is imperative.

There are lifestyle changes that can be made to help with PVD as well. These include quitting smoking and taking steps to control high blood pressure and diabetes. Other steps that you can take are exercising daily and eating a healthy diet. Making lifestyle changes can decrease complications from PVD and slow down its progression. Early detection and treatment of PVD can enable you to live a healthier lifestyle. Your podiatrist can help detect signs and symptoms of PVD from routine foot exams, so make an appointment with your foot doctor today. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask your FASMA physician.

FASMA Doctors Performing This Specialty / Service

Podiatrist Dr. Mo Esmaili DPM Dr. Mohammad Esmaili

Kensington, MD
Podiatrist Dr. Ira Gottlieb DPM Dr. Ira J. Gottlieb

Pasadena, MD
Dr. Adam Grahn

Greencastle, PA Hagerstown, MD
Dr. Brandy Grahn

Gettysburg, PA Hagerstown, MD
Dr. Andrew Liss

Columbia, MD Kensington, MD
Dr. Alexander Mount

Richmond, VA
Dr. Jenny Nguyen

Pasadena, MD
Dr. Alex Olivera

Columbia, MD Kensington, MD
Dr. Robert Pica

Richmond, VA
Dr. Mark Roemer

Hagerstown, MD
Podiatrist Dr. Gina M. Saffo DPM Dr. Gina M. Saffo

Annapolis, MD Greenbelt, MD
Dr. Gregory Smith

Gettysburg, PA Hagerstown, MD

Locations

  1. Washington, DC (19th Street)
    1145 19th Street NW Suite 605
    Washington, DC 20036
    Phone: (202) 833-9109
    Fax: (202) 833-5762

  2. Clarksville, MD
    6100 Day Long Lane Suite 208
    Clarksville, MD 21029
    Phone: (443) 535-8770
    Fax: (443) 535-8775

  3. Mt Airy, MD (South)
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    Mt Airy, MD 21771
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    Fax: 301-696-8872

  4. Frederick, MD (Thomas Johnson Drive)
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    Frederick, MD 21702
    Phone: (301) 696-0818
    Fax: (301) 696-8872

  5. Holly Springs, NC
    1004 Werrington Drive, Ste. 300
    Holly Springs, NC 27540
    Phone: 919-850-9111
    Fax: 919-850-2499

  6. Raleigh, NC (Millbrook)
    1418 E. Millbrook Road
    Raleigh, NC 27609
    Phone: 919-850-9111
    Fax: 919-850-2499

  7. Rockville, MD (Shady Grove Rd)
    15215 Shady Grove Rd Suite 307
    Rockville, MD 20850
    Phone: (240) 268-7450
    Fax: (301) 949-8833

  8. Wheaton, MD
    2730 University Blvd. W. Suite 1000
    Wheaton, MD 20902
    Phone: (301) 949-3668
    Fax: (301) 949-8833

  9. Kensington, MD
    10901 Connecticut Avenue Suite 200
    Kensington, MD 20895
    Phone: (301) 949-2000
    Fax: (301) 949-2002

  10. Silver Spring, MD (International Drive)
    3801 International Drive Suite 204
    Silver Spring, MD 20906
    Phone: (301) 598-0130
    Fax: (301) 598-5091

  11. Pasadena, MD
    8028 Governor Ritchie Hwy Suite 100
    Pasadena, MD 21122
    Phone: (410) 768-5800
    Fax: (410) 768-5806

  12. Greencastle, PA
    50 Eastern Ave Suite 122
    Greencastle, PA 17225
    Phone: 717-643-0795
    Fax: 717-643-0833

  13. Hagerstown, MD
    11110 Medical Campus Road Suite 100
    Hagerstown, MD 21742
    Phone: (301) 739-1575
    Fax: (301) 739-1578

  14. Gettysburg, PA
    506 W. Middle Street
    Gettysburg, PA 17325
    Phone: 717-778-3338
    Fax: 717-778-3340

  15. Silver Spring, MD (MedStar-Leisure World)
    3305 N Leisure World Blvd.
    Silver Spring, MD 20906
    Phone: 301-598-0130
    Fax: 301-598-5091

  16. Columbia, MD
    11055 Little Patuxent Pkwy Suite 204
    Columbia, MD 21044
    Phone: (410) 730-2623
    Fax: (410) 992-4779

  17. Annapolis, MD
    129 Lubrano Drive Suite 303
    Annapolis, MD 21401
    Phone: (410) 266-7575
    Fax: (410) 266-7366

  18. Silver Spring, MD (White Oak)
    2415 Musgrove Road Suite 103
    Silver Spring, MD 20904
    Phone: (301) 384-6500
    Fax: (301) 384-6670

  19. Richmond, VA
    1465 Johnston Willis Drive
    Richmond, VA 23235
    Phone: 804-320-3668
    Fax: 804-320-2600

  20. Chevy Chase, MD
    5530 Wisconsin Avenue Suite 945
    Chevy Chase, MD 20815
    Phone: (301) 913-5225
    Fax: (301) 913-9145

  21. Washington, DC (2021 K Street)
    2021 K Street NW Suite 520
    Washington, DC 20006
    Phone: (202) 223-4616
    Fax: (202) 223-0740

  22. Greenbelt, MD
    7501 Greenway Center Dr Suite 810
    Greenbelt, MD 20770
    Phone: (301) 577-4464
    Fax: (301) 577-4702

  23. Urbana, MD
    3430 Worthington Blvd Suite 101
    Urbana, MD 21704
    Phone: 301-696-0818

  24. McConnellsburg, PA
    214 Peach Orchard Road
    McConnellsburg, PA 17233
    Phone: (301) 739-1575
    Fax: (301) 739-1578