Know the Possible Causes and Treatment Options

September 23, 2022

Man walking down stepsLeg pain when walking can be a very complex problem. It can be secondary to major nerve damage or compression, neuropathy caused by diabetes, venous problems, or arterial disease—or any combination of the above. One of the major causes, particularly among older adults, is peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is atherosclerosis of the arteries of the legs. This is a similar disease pattern to what is seen in the heart. Our leg muscles, like our heart, need constant and adequate blood flow to function. PAD leads to narrowing of, or even complete blockage of the blood vessels of the legs. When the leg muscles do not get enough blood flow, they hurt. This can also lead to increased risk for foot wounds which dramatically increases one's risk for amputation.

Treatment Options

There are many treatment options for peripheral arterial disease. These include medical therapy, minimally invasive endovascular interventions, traditional open surgery, or hybrid surgery, which is a combination of both open and endovascular approaches. It’s important to note that each individual patient is different, and the best therapy course for that patient is dependent upon their unique situations and anatomy. Invasive intervention is not always the answer. This is where a vascular surgeon’s role in the treatment of PAD is vital, particularly early in the disease course. Vascular surgeons dedicate their entire training to addressing the full spectrum of vascular health and disease. We are the only specialty which can provide comprehensive vascular care to our patients, and can tailor our therapy to each individual patient. Another potential cause of leg pain is venous disease. Veins bring blood from our legs back to our heart. If there is any damage or blockage of these main highways back to our heart, it can lead to leg discoloration, swelling, pain, and even non-healing wounds.

A thorough workup to identify the problem is warranted and potential treatment options include varicose vein removal or ablation and stenting of the venous system, among others. Vascular surgeons can provide comprehensive care of the venous system. Should you have leg pain when walking, it is important to have a discussion with your primary care doctor or cardiologist on the appropriateness of having a vascular surgeon involved in your care.

Meet the Doctor

Bradley TrinidadBradley J. Trinidad, MD, Vascular Surgeon
Northwest Texas Healthcare System

Dr. Trinidad specializes in a wide range of vascular surgical procedures, both open and endovascular. Dr. Trinidad graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine. He earned his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in College Station and completed his Integrated Vascular Surgery Residency at the University of Arizona. He is committed to providing patients with quality care tailored to meet their individual needs.