What is the Most Common Symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease?

What is the Most Common Symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral Artery Disease exists both symptomatically and asymptomatically. That means, that one patient might display symptoms of the condition, and another none at all.  

What can a person with symptomatic PAD expect? 

There are various symptoms linked to PAD, and each person is unlikely to have the same ones. However, the most common symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease, Claudication, is one that most people appear to have.  

The Most Common Symptom of PAD 

Claudication, in and of itself, is also varied. According to the MayoClinic, one person might experience mild to sharp pain, and others might feel a more numbing pain (a.i. cramps.) Either way, claudication is caused by a lack of blood flow. For PAD, claudication exists in the lower extremities, but intermittent claudication can affect the arms as well.  

For most people, claudication is felt only when exercising, but as the plaque build-up caused by PAD worsens (and blood is unable to pass through), according to research from John Hopkins Medicine, a patient might feel pain even when they’re resting.  

If you’re experiencing claudication as a symptom of PAD, there are treatments available that can help you get back on your feet. Such treatments might include medication (to help with the pain, to prevent clotting, etc.) or even surgical procedures like angioplasty and stenting (for clearing clogged arteries and then providing it support.)  

Other Common Symptoms of PAD 

Other symptoms that are commonly present in patients with PAD include:  

  • Coldness in the legs and feet that is not mirrored in both sides (only one leg feels cold); 
  • Sores on your lower extremities that do not heal; 
  • Discoloration in the skin around your legs and feet, the skin might also appear shiny, or brittle in comparison to everywhere else; 
  • Hair loss, or hair that doesn’t grow on the legs and feet; 
  • Possible erectile dysfunction in men; 
  • And finally, nails that either do not grow or suddenly turn brittle.   

Much like claudication, some of these symptoms can be made less severe with the application of treatment in the form of medication or surgical procedures.  

Conclusion — What is the Most Common Symptom of Peripheral Artery Disease? 

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, or a grouping of the symptoms, mentioned above, then it’s vital that you talk to your doctor. This is especially true if you are feeling intermittent claudication (whether during exercise or at rest.) There is no known cure for PAD. However, there are plenty of treatments that can help you get over its more common symptoms.  

The earlier that you are diagnosed, the better off you will be. If treated early enough, you will not have to worry about any of the symptoms mentioned above intruding into your daily life.  



  1. “Claudication.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Apr. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/claudication/symptoms-causes/syc-20370952. 
  2. “Symptoms & Treatment of Claudication.” Is There Really Any Benefit to Multivitamins?, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/claudication_85,P08251. 
  3. NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/peripheral-arterial-disease-pad/