Peripheral Artery Disease (P.A.D.)

Signs and Symptoms

Many people who have P.A.D. do not have any signs or symptoms. Even if you don’t have signs or symptoms, ask your doctor whether you should get checked for P.A.D. if you are

  • age 70 or older
  • age 50 or older and have a history of smoking or diabetes
  • younger than 50 and have diabetes and one or more risk factors for atherosclerosis

(Watch the video to learn more about the symptoms of P.A.D. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)

Symptoms In Leg Muscles

People who have P.A.D. may have symptoms in their leg muscles when walking or climbing stairs. These symptoms may include

  • pain
  • numbness
  • aching, or heaviness in the leg muscles
  • cramping in the affected leg(s) and in the buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet.

These symptoms, which are called intermittent claudication (klaw-dih-KA-shen), may go away after resting.

If You Have Leg Pain

If you have leg pain when you walk or climb stairs, talk to your doctor. Sometimes older people think that leg pain is part of aging when it could be P.A.D. Tell your doctor if you're feeling pain in your legs, and discuss whether you should be tested for P.A.D.

Other Possible Signs

Possible signs of P.A.D. include

  • weak or absent pulses in the legs or feet
  • sores or wounds on the toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all
  • a pale or bluish color to the skin
  • a lower temperature in one leg compared to the other leg
  • poor toenail growth and decreased leg hair growth
  • erectile dysfunction, especially in men who have diabetes.