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Why is My Left Leg Numb or Colder Than My Right

Cold feet in cozy socks due to PAD

Do you ever get the feeling that one of your legs is colder than the other? If you feel coldness, numbness, tingling, or aching in one leg that doesn’t go away with activity, it could be a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a potentially serious condition.

In this blog, we explore:

Your body relies on a complex network of blood vessels to deliver fresh, nutrient-rich blood to the tissues. PAD occurs when plaque buildup within the arteries blocks blood flow to the legs, thighs, calves, buttocks, ankles, and feet. Chronic coolness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs is a common sign of a moderate to severe blockage.

PAD is relatively common, affecting between 8 and 12 million people in the U.S. Read more about the signs and symptoms of PAD and whether the cold or numb feeling in one of your legs could be due to a serious problem in your circulatory system.


What Causes Numbness or Coldness in One Leg?

Most factors that can cause one leg to feel numb or colder than the other are related to poor circulation. Chronic coldness in one leg (whether left or right) may result from a partially or fully blocked artery preventing your legs and feet from getting the blood flow they need. Additional symptoms of poor circulation in the legs include:

  • Achy, tired legs
  • Heaviness in one or both of your legs or feet
  • Cramping in your buttocks, thigh, calf, or feet
  • Leg(s) turning a pale blue or gray color
  • Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • Slow or non-healing wounds
  • Numbness in one leg while walking

These may be symptoms of PAD. If you’ve noticed that your feet or legs feel numb, tingly, or cold to the touch, and the problem isn’t resolved by moving around a bit, consult a vascular specialist as soon as possible.


What Are Other Symptoms of PAD?

PAD symptoms can vary depending on the affected arteries and the severity of the blockage. One of the more common symptoms is called claudication, a painful cramping in the legs caused by decreased blood flow to the muscles. Claudication pain usually eases when resting, but if the aching continues, it can be a sign that PAD has progressed and requires treatment.

Other, less obvious symptoms of PAD include:

  • Hair loss or slow growth: Decreased blood flow can cause hair to fall out and not grow back, often in the legs.
  • Shiny skin: Reduced blood flow can give the skin on the legs a shiny appearance.
  • Wounds that don’t heal: Leg wounds or sores that take a long time to heal can indicate poor circulation.
  • Discoloration: The skin may turn bluish or pale in the affected area.

Not everyone with PAD experiences the same symptoms. Pay attention to your body and inform a healthcare provider if you experience any unusual changes. If you’ve experienced these symptoms or think you’re at risk of developing PAD, reach out to USA Vascular Centers today.

Is Having One Leg Colder Than the Other Serious?

If you’ve noticed one of your legs is colder than the other and you’re experiencing other PAD symptoms, see a vascular specialist immediately.

Temperature changes in your leg may indicate a moderate to severe level of peripheral artery disease. Moderate to severe PAD is characterized as partially to almost fully blocked arteries. A blockage means that the tissues and muscles in your legs aren’t getting enough oxygenated blood. Yan Katsnelson, M.D., warns that without sufficient blood flow, the tissues in your legs and feet may begin to shut down and die.

As a result, people who do not get PAD treated can be at significant risk of heart attack, stroke, and gangreneresulting in amputation or death.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait

PAD is a progressive disease, meaning the blockages in your arteries will likely get worse over time. Delaying treatment may exacerbate your symptoms and lead to serious complications. Waiting until PAD becomes severe may limit your treatment options. Complications like severe leg pain, ulcers, sores, and even amputation are possible if you wait too long to seek professional help.

Speaking with a professional who can recommend early intervention and lifestyle changes is crucial in slowing disease progression and preventing possible complications. The skilled professionals at USA Vascular Centers are ready to answer any questions about PAD to ensure your continued health and peace of mind.

Diagnosing the Cause of Leg Numbness, Tingling, or Coldness

When diagnosing PAD, you should only trust experts in the field. At USA Vascular Centers, we start by obtaining a thorough medical history and performing physical exams to evaluate the blood flow in certain areas of your body. The Ankle-Brachial Index is a simple and common test that measures and compares blood pressure near your ankles and feet. An angiogram uses iodine dye to provide imaging of your arteries and detect the location of a blockage. Blood tests may help determine some contributing factors of PAD, like high cholesterol.

Once PAD has been diagnosed, our vascular specialists can recommend the next steps and provide a personalized treatment plan.

Treatment for Cold or Numb Legs

Older woman talking to friendly doctor about leg numbness

USA Vascular Centers provides minimally invasive, non-surgical PAD treatments that can help restore blood flow and eliminate symptoms like coldness, numbness, and tingling in the legs.

  • Angioplasty: A small balloon is inserted into the affected artery via catheter. The balloon then expands, pushing the plaque against the artery walls and restoring blood flow.
  • Stenting: Following angioplasty, a stent can be placed at the site of the blockage. The stent is a hollow tube that stays in place and keeps the artery open.
  • Atherectomy: This treatment removes accumulated plaque with a laser or tiny blade, allowing blood to flow through the artery freely. Determining the best treatment for you may depend on the severity of your PAD and how well your symptoms are controlled. Your vascular specialist may be able to recommend medications and lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of PAD.

Schedule a consultation with USA Vascular Centers today and take control of your PAD.



Dr. Yan Katsnelson is a philanthropist, business owner, and highly skilled cardiac surgeon. He is the Founder and CEO of USA Vascular Centers, which is part of USA Clinics Group, the parent company of USA Fibroid Centers, USA Vein Clinics, and USA Oncology Centers with more than 90 facilities nationwide. Dr. Yan has established himself as a strong advocate for accessibility and affordability of the most advanced medical care close to home, and his mission is to create a positive experience for each patient with compassionate, personalized, and expert care.

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