Peripheral Artery Disease: What You Need to Know

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SYNOPSIS:Claudication from peripheral artery disease (PAD) may mimic or coexist with musculoskeletal conditions and represents an important diagnostic consideration in patients over 50 years of age. Physical therapists are optimally positioned to recognize this condition by incorporating a vascular history and physical examination in appropriately selected patients. Recognition of PAD is important both from the standpoint of addressing the ischemic risk to the limb and because PAD is associated with high cerebrovascular and cardiovascular risk. Therefore, multidisciplinary management of patients with PAD is essential. Extensive evidence supports treatment of PAD-related claudication with supervised exercise, and physical therapists are well positioned to play an important role in this treatment.

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