Left untreated, PAD can lead to amputation
Do you have blackened areas on your feet or toes?
If parts of your leg, toe or foot aren’t looking like their normal color or feeling good at all – and haven’t for a while – you should contact a health care professional. You might have gangrene. Gangrene is one of the most severe symptoms of an advanced form of peripheral artery disease (PAD) called critical limb ischemia (CLI), and it is potentially life-threatening. Narrowed, hardened arteries resulting from PAD can lead to gangrene in your toes, feet and legs.19 Restricted or blocked blood flow can kill cells and can cause tissue to die. This is called gangrene, which can cause your skin to dry or shrivel, and the flesh to turn colors – brown to purple to black – and eventually fall off.
Gangrene could lead to amputation
The obstructed blood flow is so considerable and widespread in patients with CLI that many are at significant risk for amputation to remove the gangrenous body part. Treatment may be able to lessen the amount of amputation that is necessary, saving limbs and potentially saving lives. In addition to gangrene, patients with CLI also can experience severe pain near the vicinity of the affected leg, foot or toe, often when at rest or during the night. These pains caused by CLI can last for hours.20 Things can get worse from there – CLI can put a person’s life at risk.4
Gangrene could indicate you have an advanced stage of PAD, and only a health care professional can diagnose you. Schedule an examination right away, or use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a PAD specialist near you.
Talk to Your Doctor
Only a health care professional can diagnose you with PAD. Our Symptom Quiz can help guide the conversation about your treatment options.
Take the Symptom Quiz
Click below to take the interactive Symptom Quiz. You can print your answers out and take them with you to a doctor to help guide your conversation about PAD.