Many Americans suffer with discomfort and pain in their legs, most often while walking, jogging or during some other type of physical activity. Although such symptoms, especially if only occasional or temporary, don’t necessarily mean that you have this disease, it may be a good idea to talk to your health-care provider if they occur frequently or become severe.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when the walls of the arteries begin to accumulate deposits of fat and cholesterol. The vessels become hardened and cannot widen when more blood is needed in the legs such as during walking, especially uphill. The classic symptoms usually affect men over 50 and include pain, achiness, fatigue, burning or discomfort in the muscles of the feet, calves or thighs. Generally, the symptoms appear mostly when walking fast, uphill or for long distances. They usually go away after several minutes of rest. Slowly, the symptoms come on more quickly and with less exercise. The legs may feel numb at rest and cool to the touch.