Those legs were made for walking. How about this fact: The average person uses their legs to walk 115,000 miles in a lifetime—that’s more than four trips around the globe! Our legs are amazingly important and there’s no time for pain.
We’ve all had that rude awakening in the middle of the night where a sudden involuntary contraction occurs in the leg muscle. This spasm or charley horse can cause considerable pain as you try and massage away the hard mass of muscle tissue beneath your skin. Prolonged exercise, overuse of the muscle, dehydration, nerve compression and mineral deficiencies in your diet can cause this nighttime nuisance.
The regular kind of leg pain is mostly harmless, but, if you have diabetes, it could be related to other underlying medical conditions, one being diabetic nerve pain.
What is Diabetic Nerve Pain?
Also called diabetic neuropathy, people with diabetes can have prolonged, elevated blood sugar levels that over time cause permanent damage to the nerves in the legs and feet. Diabetic nerve pain is often described by patients as burning, numbing, shooting, stinging, and tingling like pins and needles. Damage is permanent and the type and intensity of pain varies greatly with each person—from mild to substantial to disabling.
How are PAD and Leg Pain related?
Many people have leg pain caused by a condition they don’t even know they have; it’s called peripheral artery disease (PAD). Here again, diabetes is one of the most common risk factors, especially in patients over age 50. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque (fatty deposits and cholesterol) on the walls of the arteries. Over time, a clogged artery in the leg can become too narrow. This makes it difficult for blood flow to bring oxygen to the muscles, tissues and organs. Serious blood clots in legs can form when plaque breaks off and enters the bloodstream. Is it any wonder, then, that there is cause for concern upon hearing the term “blood clot” in reference to your vascular health?
Classic tell-tale signs of PAD are leg pain or calf pain while walking, climbing stairs or exercising, in the form of cramping, weakness and discomfort that occurs with these activities. Often, this pain goes away with rest. But, you should NOT ignore it and you SHOULD call your doctor. PAD can eventually be a debilitating inhibitor of simple everyday activities you enjoy such as walking your dog or grocery shopping.
Medication and reducing the risk factors—lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, losing weight, stopping smoking and abstaining from heavy alcohol—are often the first steps for PAD pain management. In more severe cases, Dr. Lam may recommend peripheral artery bypass surgery or, more commonly, one of these minimally invasive vascular procedures: angioplasty and stenting; or laser atherectomy.
What to do if you have Leg Pain
At Lam Vascular & Associates, our goal with every patient is to alleviate pain. And get you back in your walking shoes. If you have been told you have a clogged artery in your leg, or are experiencing leg pain or ANY of the more severe signs or symptoms discussed here, don’t let this stop you from getting the treatment you need. Go to Lam Vascular & Associates.
We specialize in minimally invasive, same-day vascular surgery. For your comfort and convenience, Lam Vascular & Associates has locations in Dallas and Rockwall, Texas. Click here to schedule an initial appointment and get a leg up on your vascular health.
The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.