How Winter Can Mask the Signs of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

As every Michigan resident knows, winter makes everyday tasks much more difficult. Though our state transforms into a snowy, enchanted landscape, simple endeavors like taking a walk become more challenging this time of year. You may think that your sore legs are due to shoveling but the pain might be an underlying problem that is more serious.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a significant condition that affects a significant portion of the population. PAD is most commonly identified in the lower extremities and causes painful muscle cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising. You might think that the pain in your lower body is an effect of winter, but it is important to find the truth behind your discomfort.

People brush off signs of PAD regularly, leading to more serious health problems down the road. Don’t ignore the pain in your hips, thighs, or calves. Be proactive and treat PAD before it dramatically alters your life.

Common signs of PAD include

  • Painful muscle cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising
  • Leg pain that does not cease when exercising stops
  • Wounds on the foot or toe that will not heal
  • A notable decrease in temperature of your lower leg or foot
  • Slow nail growth or hair growth on the legs

Many people that have peripheral artery disease dismiss leg pain as a normal sign of aging and assume the pain is caused by arthritis or simply the stiffness of getting older. Ignoring PAD can lead to more painful symptoms or even the loss of a leg. People who have PAD have increased risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart attack.

Don’t let winter mask your possible PAD. If you have any of the symptoms discussed, it is important to get screened. If you think PAD might be an issue in your life, we offer free screenings for non-Medicare patients and only $25 for Medicare patients (due to Medicare regulations). You can contact us via or contact form or by calling us at 269-492-6500.