Leg pain is a common problem that affects millions of Americans. It usually occurs due to general wear and tear or minor injuries. However, it can also indicate more serious health problems that affect your veins and arteries.
What are Some Common Causes of Leg Pain?
Leg pain can occur for a number of reasons, but the team at Imaging & Interventional Specialists focuses on leg pain caused by problems in the veins and arteries, including:
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
PAD affects about 8.5 million Americans. It occurs when the arteries narrow over time, inhibiting blood flow to the arms and legs. One of the most common symptoms of PAD is leg pain when walking. Healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising, can provide significant relief.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
DVT is a potentially serious condition that causes blood clots to form deep in the veins of the legs. Some people with DVT do not experience symptoms; others experience pain and swelling in the legs. Common causes of DVT include medical conditions that cause clotting and long periods of rest after surgery or an accident.
Without prompt treatment, DVT can cause a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when a blood clot enters the bloodstream and lodges in the lungs.
Varicose veins have a thick rope-like appearance and occur on the thighs and calves. They are usually a cosmetic concern, but in some cases, they can increase the risk of DVT. Thanks to modern treatments, it is possible to safely remove them during an outpatient procedure.
How is Leg Pain Diagnosed?
To diagnose leg pain, the Imaging & Interventional Specialists team reviews your medical history, asks about your symptoms and lifestyle, and conducts a physical exam. Your provider carefully observe your legs, looking for signs of swelling, tenderness, or discolored skin.
If you have a high risk of blood clots, your provider also orders an angiogram. An angiogram is a diagnostic procedure that uses X-rays to capture images of your blood vessels. Before getting an angiogram, your provider injects a small amount of contrast dye into your body to make your veins more visible.
How is Leg Pain Treated?
Treatment for leg pain depends on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause. In some cases, healthy lifestyle changes are enough to limit pain. For example, the team might recommend getting more exercise, changing your diet, or wearing compression stockings.
If you have varicose veins, you might benefit from a minimally invasive treatment like endovenous laser ablation or sclerotherapy.
If you have PAD, the team might recommend angioplasty. Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to restore blood flow throughout your body. During angioplasty, your provider inserts a catheter with a balloon at the end, into an artery. After placing the catheter, your provider inflates the balloon to push the plaque outward and widen it.
To learn more about the various treatment options for leg pain, schedule an appointment at Imaging & Interventional Specialists. Call the office, or book a consultation online today.