Symptoms and Diagnosis

Interventional radiology can provide treatment for leg pain that is caused by disorders of the blood vessels. The most common vessel-related causes of leg pain are venous disease and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Venous disease includes varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

You can compare the symptoms below to determine whether you are likely to be experiencing pain from peripheral artery disease (PAD) or one of the venous diseases.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Venous Disease
no swelling swelling of calves or ankles
crampy or achy pain in legs or buttocks legs feel tight or heavy or "full"
fatigue in legs or buttocks dull pain when you are walking
numbness in legs and feet dull pain after you stop walking
pain occurs when exercising pain is relieved when you elevate and rest your legs
pain stops a few minutes after exercising visible varicose veins
feet are cooler than rest of body excessive warmth in the leg
low blood pressure in legs and feet leg rashes, redness, or sores
  leathery skin

There are many other reasons for leg pain, such as injury, overuse, cancer, fractures, etc. We have had a lot of experience in the diagnosis of leg pain, and will direct you to an appropriate specialist if your pain is not caused by a disorder of the blood vessels.


Diagnosis

We will use a set of straightforward questions to determine the most likely cause of your leg pain. Once we've narrowed down the possibilities based on your responses, we will perform some tests to determine the reason or reasons that you are experiencing pain or discomfort. Once we have all of the information we need, we will help you find the treatment that will work the best for you.

The specific questions you will be asked and tests that will be done will depend on the kind of pain or discomfort you are experiencing. You can go through the following questions to narrow down the possible reasons that your legs hurt, then read more about the disorders to see if the list of symptoms sounds familiar to you. This will also give you a chance to read more about that disorder, including risks, treatments, and further diagnostic testing that is done.


Patient Interview

You know best what kind of pain you are experiencing, when it occurs, and what helps or makes it worse. We will discuss your symptoms with you to narrow down the possible reasons for your leg pain, then perform some diagnostic testing to confirm our theories before we begin treatment.

These are some of the questions that we will start with at your first appointment, so reading through now will give you a chance to think about your answers and be prepared. We all have a habit of downplaying our symptoms and thinking, "It's not so bad," but it is important to be honest so that we can find an accurate reason for your pain.

  • How long have you been experiencing this pain?
    • If a short time, was there anything you can think of that may have caused it? A bump or fall?
  • Where exactly do you feel the pain?
    • Does it seem to be occurring in the muscles, the bones, or just in the general area?
  • Is it constant, or do certain things seem to trigger it?
    • Does it hurt when you bend your knee, or your ankle, or toes?
    • Does it happen during exercise?
      • Does it start hurting as soon as you start walking, or come on gradually?
      • Does it go away when you stop exercising?
    • Does it hurt more when you are standing up or sitting down?
  • Is the pain sharp and shooting or dull and achy?
  • Do your legs feel tired at the end of the day?
  • Are your legs, ankles, or feet, swollen?
    • Does elevating them make them feel better and reduce the swelling?
  • What medications are you taking?


Diagnostic Testing

After we've discussed your symptoms and medical history with you, we may perform a few diagnostic tests to gather more information necessary to accurately pinpoint the reason for your pain. The tests done depend on the suspected diagnosis. More information about the specific tests is listed for each disorder.

 


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