Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a condition that develops when the blood vessels become partially or completely blocked as a result of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a gradual process where cholesterol substances are deposited on the walls of the arteries causing a narrowing. Blood clots often form in these narrowed areas and can break away and travel to other areas causing sudden and complete blockage of an artery. Risk factors for developing PAD/PVD include: diabetes, smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, chronic renal failure, obesity and age.
As PAD/PVD develops slowly there is often no symptoms. During a vascular assessment your podiatrist will take a thorough history looking for subtle signs and symptoms like changes in skin colour or shiny skin, brittle nails, hair loss, intermittent claudication (pain when walking relieved by rest), cold feet, ulcers and rest pain. A pedal vascular assessment also includes the palpation of pulses in the feet. Your podiatrist will also listen to your pulses with the use of an ultrasound machine. A final test to check circulation usually involves taking the blood pressure in your big toe. This gives your podiatrist a good overview of your circulation. These tests are usually performed on a regular basis to gauge any deterioration in vascular status. Early detection means that appropriate management can be started to prevent major complications.Contact Us Today