Foot Pain at Night: It Might Be More Serious Than You Think

Foot Pain at Night: It Might Be More Serious Than You Think

Leg pain is bothersome regardless of the time of day, but when foot or leg pain happens at night, it just seems worse. Not only are you in pain, but the pain completely ruins having a halfway decent chance of getting a goodnight’s sleep.

Nighttime leg pain may become more common as you age and can be associated with restless leg syndrome or leg cramps. But is it something that you should discuss with your doctor? Maybe you just went a little overboard on the treadmill. It’s just leg pain. What’s the big deal? It’s not like it’s chest pain, right?

It could very well be something minor, says board-certified interventional cardiologist and vascular surgeon Saleem Saiyad, MD. But leg pain at night could also be a symptom of a more serious, even life-threatening condition called peripheral artery disease, sometimes referred to as PAD. In this blog, Dr. Saiyad shares his experience with diagnosing leg pain so that you understand how to be your own best health advocate.

Peripheral artery disease explained

A great jumping-off point for this discussion is to describe what peripheral artery disease is and why it’s important to your overall health. About 8.5 million American adults ages 40 and older suffer from PAD, a particular type of arterial disease.

Essentially, peripheral artery disease is a circulation illness that prevents healthy blood flow to your limbs. Under normal conditions, your body operates optimally because oxygenated blood flows to the cells in your body, supplying nourishment and healing as needed. But if you have peripheral artery disease, fatty deposits or plaque lines build up in the walls of the blood vessels narrowing or blocking the path for adequate blood flow.

Leg and foot pain, including nighttime pain and weakness or numbness in the foot or leg, are classic peripheral artery disease symptoms. Some patients may also experience temperature differences where one foot or leg feels colder than the other as well as swelling in the leg or ankles.

PAD can lead to a stroke or heart attack

While these symptoms are uncomfortable and disruptive in and of themselves, peripheral artery disease can be life-threatening if not treated. In fact, if you have PAD, you are six to seven times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack or develop coronary artery disease than the general population.

Don’t wait to seek help

Although foot pain at night may seem like a minor issue not worth discussing with your doctor, you know your body best. If you are suffering from persistent pain, and feel like something doesn’t seem right, don’t wait. Contact your doctor right away.

Here at Premier Vein & Vascular, our experienced medical team first performs a thorough physical examination and comprehensive medical family history. We augment this initial information by performing various vascular tests and studies in our offices. 

Key tests include diagnostics such as the ankle-brachial index, or ABI, which measures and compares your blood pressure at the ankle with that taken at the upper arm and helps determine if there is an issue with healthy blood flow in the legs.

Depending on your situation, your doctor performs further testing, such as duplex ultrasound, which provides a view inside your blood vessels and measures blood-flow speed. Your doctor may also recommend diagnostic tests like an angiography, CT scan, or MRI to further assess what’s going on and to accurately diagnose your particular condition.

Whether your condition turns out to be PAD or another vascular issue like varicose veins, getting to the proper diagnosis brings you one step closer to treatment to restore your health. If you are suffering from foot pain at night, contact us at Premier Vein & Vascular for an evaluation today. Schedule an appointment online for a consultation at one of our offices in Tampa or Largo, Florida.

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