Aging & Health A to Z
Peripheral Artery Disease
Lifestyle & Management
Regular exercise is the most effective medical treatment for leg pain that comes and goes. For most people with peripheral artery disease, the goal is to work up to 30 minutes of walking most if not every day of the week. Your healthcare provider may have you work with an exercise or rehabilitation specialist to develop a walking program that is right for you. You will walk until the pain starts, then rest until it passes, and then walk again, repeating this cycle for 30 minutes. Eventually you will find you can walk a longer and longer time before your body tells you it is time to rest.
A heart healthy diet low in fat and refined sugar, and high in fruits and vegetables is beneficial for any heart and circulatory problems.
Proper foot care is also very important. This includes:
- Wearing properly fitted, supportive shoes.
- Avoiding injury from nail clipping or walking barefoot.
- Wearing thick, absorbent socks.
- Using padding or shoe inserts to help prevent blisters and ulcers.
- Washing every day. Dry your skin thoroughly, then use a lotion to moisturize your feet to prevent prevents cracks that can lead to bacteria or fungal infection. But: Don’t apply moisturizers between your toes. Instead, dry this area thoroughly.
- Treatment of Athlete’s foot.
- Careful treatment of sores or other foot injuries, which may require special dressings, walking casts, or other forms of protection.
- Be sure to notify your healthcare provider if you have foot or leg sores.
Updated: March 2012
Posted: March 2012