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Leg Pain at Night: Watch Out for Peripheral Artery Disease

Man experiencing leg pain at night

“Why Do My Legs Ache at Night?”

Do you ever have trouble sleeping because your legs hurt? 

If so, we want you to know that leg pain at night is not a normal sign of aging. Instead, aching legs at night may indicate that something is wrong. We recommend visiting your doctor or a vascular specialist as soon as possible to determine the underlying cause.

One potential cause of leg pain at night is peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a common, yet serious, vascular condition that can cause life-altering symptoms. For instance, you may experience severe leg pain and cramping that impact your ability to walk or climb stairs. PAD can also place you at increased risk for dangerous health issues like heart attack, stroke, and limb amputation. 

Fortunately, minimally invasive PAD treatment is available that can alleviate your symptoms, improve your mobility, and reduce your risks of developing serious complications. Here’s what you need to know about aching legs at night, treatment for PAD, and where to find specialized vascular care.



Peripheral Artery Disease and Leg Pain at Night

Peripheral artery disease impacts over eight million people in the United States. PAD is primarily caused by atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing or blockage of arteries due to plaque buildup. Plaque builds up in the arteries when excess fat and cholesterol circulate in the bloodstream. 

PAD is a progressive disease. If left untreated, you may begin to develop painful or uncomfortable symptoms that impact your daily activities. 

Common PAD symptoms include:

  • Leg cramping, numbness, or fatigue
  • Leg discoloration 
  • Loss of hair on legs
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • Foot and leg pain that disturbs sleep
  • Shiny skin on the legs
  • Non-healing wounds on feet or legs
  • One leg that is cooler than the other 
  • Cold or numb toes
  • Poor toenail growth

Muscle pain that begins with physical activity and stops during rest (claudication) is the most common symptom of PAD. This pain can be mild, moderate, or severe, and most commonly affects the calves, thighs, and buttocks. 

However, some individuals also experience leg pain while at rest. This can involve leg pain when lying down, aching legs at night, pain in the buttocks, foot pain, or lower leg pain at night

Leg pain at night can indicate a severe blockage in the arteries leading to the lower extremities, known as critical limb ischemia. This dangerous condition can develop as a complication of PAD. When this occurs, leg pain may be accompanied by open, non-healing sores (arterial ulcers), thickened toenails, shiny skin on legs, diminished leg pulse, and dry gangrene (dry, black skin) in the affected area. Critical limb ischemia can lead to limb amputation.

What Can Cause Leg Pain and Aching at Night?

There are many potential causes of leg pain and aching at night, including varicose veins, injury, infection, and disease. If you suspect that peripheral artery disease is causing your leg pain at night, we suggest contacting one of our leading vascular specialists as soon as possible. 

At USA Vascular Centers, our specialists will quickly assess your symptoms, accurately diagnose PAD, and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. Our treatment goals include: 

  • Alleviating painful symptoms
  • Improving mobility
  • Reducing risks of heart attack, stroke, and limb amputation

Treatment to Stop Leg Pain at Night Caused By PAD

Treatment for peripheral artery disease usually involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, medications, and, when necessary, non-surgical procedures.

In terms of lifestyle modifications, we generally recommend that you:

  • Quit smoking
  • Lose excess weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet
  • Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels

Additionally, your doctor may recommend certain medications to improve blood flow throughout your body. It is important that you take these exactly as prescribed. 

Sometimes, a minimally invasive procedure may be recommended. At USA Vascular Centers, we perform the following outpatient, non-surgical PAD treatments: 

Schedule a Consultation With USA Vascular Today

If PAD is making your legs hurt at night, our vascular specialists are here to help. We are confident that with proper treatment, you can soon get a good night’s sleep without leg pain and improve the quality of your life.

To explore your PAD treatment options, schedule an initial consultation online today. We offer in-person appointments at more than 40 vascular treatment centers nationwide, along with convenient telemedicine options. No matter where you decide to visit us, we look forward to meeting you soon.


Timely detection and treatment of PAD can improve the quality of your life; help you keep your independence and mobility; and reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, leg amputation, and even death.

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