elderly woman in bed with leg pain

What is Rest Pain?

What’s the Deal with Pain at Rest & Critical Limb Ischemia?

One of the common symptoms that patients experience during their Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) journey is rest pain. In the beginning stages of PAD, rest pain is identified as a burning sensation of the lower extremities; the legs, feet, or toes. This is caused by a lack of blood flow through the arteries when at rest or when the lower extremities are elevated.

In most cases rest pain has shown to be the result of certain health conditions such as diabetes as well as lifestyle choices such as a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and unhealthy diet. Usually, pain at rest disappears as a result of walking due to gravity restarting the blood circulation. Many of those who suffer from these symptoms will often have difficulty having a full night’s rest or being comfortable lifting their feet on an ottoman or sit back on a reclining chair.

When does it become a serious issue?

Though rest pain is an early sign of PAD, many patients still ignore it. Those who experience this type of pain may assume that it is expected in old age or a different ailment that is not as serious as PAD. Cramping or aching in the limbs occurs more frequently with age. However, constant rest pain is a sure sign of developing PAD. In fact, continuous rest pain is a major indicator that a patient is developing an advanced form of PAD known as Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). CLI is a severe reduction of blood flow through the arteries of your extremities. A quarter of patients diagnosed with CLI are likely to go through an amputation within the first year of diagnosis. 1  

What can you do to help?

PAD is a chronic condition that may be persistent in you or a loved one’s life. Spreading awareness is always the first step to helping your community detect these symptoms of PAD. When someone close to you is experiencing these symptoms, remind them to start by seeing their primary care physician. Walking programs can relieve some symptoms, but symptoms like rest pain can remain constant and grow worse. It is worth seeing a specialist in the field of arterial disease.

To learn more about how to prevent any further damage to the limbs through minimally-invasive vascular solutions that Modern Vascular offers or to find answers to your PAD-related problems, you can call (888) 853-1278 or use the online form at ModernVascular.com to request a consultation with a Modern Vascular Patient Advocate.


1. Creager, et al., Reducing nontraumatic lower-extremity amputations by 20% by 2030: Time to get to our feet: A policy statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. Retrieved October 5, 2022.

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