The prevalence of vascular disease or poor circulation in the foot has been increasing along with diabetes in our patient population over the past few months. With this increase we have seen more and more people suffering from pain when walking, cramping in their legs, and the appearance of ulcers. The key to preventing these symptoms is by getting your feet checked prior to the symptoms. The most common cause of vascular disease to the foot is caused by plaque in the arteries that inhibit blood flow to the lower extremity. If the plaque or blockage of the artery is severe enough then symptoms of pain when walking and cramping when in bed are seen. Intermittent claudication or pain in the legs when walking a short distance is something that patients should be aware of. If you have pain when walking, and have to take a break from the activity every few moments due to leg pain, then you may have vascular disease of the lower extremity. If you have pain at night when lying in bed and it is relieved by hanging your feet off the edge of the bed, then you may have vascular disease.
Initially we at the clinic can screen your for problems by using our sophisticated ABI (ankle brachial index) machine which not only measures flow to the foot but also the toes. This machine essentially measures the blood pressure that is flowing to the toes and feet with absolutely no discomfort to the patient. The test is run at the office and takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. We review the results with you immediately after the test so that you can gain an understanding of the problem.
If we require more invasive testing then we will refer the patient out to a vascular surgeon who can perform an angiogram. Angiogram is the gold standard in diagnosing and assessing vascular diseases to the limbs. Essentially, the surgeon will inject a dye into the patient through an IV and then will take multiple images of the legs and lower extremity to view where the blockages are in the legs. The dye makes the blockages very easy to see and therefore treatment can be tailored to the specific arteries that need repair. The vascular surgeon will then determine what type of procedure would best fit the patient. More often than not an atherectomy will occur which is basically a minimally invasive procedure where the blockages in the vessels are cleared with a balloon that is placed in the artery and then pushes the plaque out of the way, so that blood flow can be reestablished.
At Advanced Podiatry we utilize the latest medical technologies available and therefore can help to diagnose vascular disease early so that we can prevent future complications. Please call and make an appointment today to assess your vascular status today.
Dr. Jairo Cruz Jr