02 Apr Foot pain may be linked to Heart Disease
Did you know your foot and leg pain may be related to heart disease?
Coronary artery disease (CAD) refers to the narrowing of the arteries in the heart while peripheral artery disease (PAD) refers to narrowing of the arteries in the extremities and feet.
Arteries may narrow down (also known as atherosclerosis) due to a buildup of plaque along their walls. This plaque is made up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances. The greater the buildup, the more the blockage and in cases of inflammation of the plaque, it can break off and block off blood flow completely.
Severe reduction in blood flow or complete blockage can result in tissue damage or death. In the heart, this is considered a heart attack. When it occurs in the feet or legs, such a condition may be limb-threatening and put you at risk of toe, foot or partial leg amputation.
Signs of peripheral artery disease in the legs or feet:
· Reduced or no hair growth
· Dry, thin, atrophic skin
· Discolored or brittle nails
· Frequent cramps or pain in the feet and legs, even after walking short distances
· Cold, numb feet and toes
· Slow healing wounds
· Foot pain, even at rest
PAD is usually tested with an ankle/brachial index evaluation. Blood pressure cuffs on the arms, legs, and feet are measured to check the arterial blood pressure and look for any reduction or blockages in blood flow to the extremities.
Have your feet regularly examined by a podiatrist. Do not try to treat any corns, calluses, or other foot conditions, yourself. Your podiatrist may refer you to a vascular specialist if necessary.