There are four standard examination pillars in podiatry: orthopedic (foot/ankle structure and function), dermatologic (skin condition), neurological (strength, reflex and sensation), and vascular (arteries, veins, lymphatics, etc). This month I want to focus my discussion on the last of these…the vascular exam.
Over the past few weeks at Sohl Foot & Ankle we have had several new patients with varying degrees of peripheral vascular disease (PVD). It’s kind of a catch-all diagnosis in podiatry, but it describes a general condition of circulation problems of the lower extremities.
There are a couple subsets of PVD that are worth noting. First being peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Common signs and symptoms of PAD include leg pain, cool feet, pale skin, and dryness of the feet.
Another more common peripheral vascular disorder is venous insufficiency. This can show up as subtle or profound leg swelling, skin pigmentation or hardening at the ankles and shins, and leg pain.
Most of the time, these conditions can be monitored and managed through various methods including medications, lifestyle changes, and even surgeries. But if these conditions progress without treatment, wounds and ulcers of the feet and ankles can occur. These are serious life changing complications.
It’s my job to prevent my patient’s from having the bad outcomes that can stem from PVD and it’s more dangerous manifestations. A thorough vascular exam is the first step in that process. It’s so important to educate my patients regarding the severity of their vascular disease and how it relates to other risk factors for their foot and ankle health. The action plans that follow will not only prevent the worst outcomes, but can also improve your quality of life.
Call Dr. Sohl of Sohl Foot & Ankle at 267-699-3839 so we can help your feet stay happy.
PHOTO CAP: A thorough vascular exam is essential to your care.