Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Expert Forum
Collapsed vein in foot and leg
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Questions in the Peripheral Arterial Disease forum are answered by Dr. Lee Kirksey, associate professor at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Topics covered include abdominal aortic aneurysm , amputation, arteriovenous fistula, atherectomy, carotid artery surgery , cholesterol , claudication, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) , endovascular aortic stent graft (EVAR), stent placement , stroke prevention, varicose veins , and venous insufficiency .

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Collapsed vein in foot and leg

I am a paramedic (Who won't charge you $20 for service - sorry had to throw that in) who has a friend (in his 30's) that has a very interesting situation.  He stated about 5 years ago he had pain in his foot.  He went to see a vascular specialist and they told him that he had a collapsed artery in his leg and that he had nothing to worry about since he had two other arteries in his leg.  My friend stated that he could see his arteries begin to curl up and pull back.  This seems to be continuing to happen all the way up his left leg.  He has bruising on the top of his foot that he stated has been there for quite some time.  He also said this is incredibly painful for him.  There are knots in different spots in his foot and up his leg where he said the arteries have pulled back.  You can see a dark streak that goes up the inside of his leg where he said it looks like the artery collapsed.  He told me that it has mainly stayed in his foot for the last 5 years or so, but has since travelled up his leg quite quickly.  It has moved from his shin to above his knee in about 2 months.  He does smoke and has a history of diabetes in his family, but he is by no means overweight and is in very good health.  He currently does not have diabetes.  He has kept a very good record of all of the changes he has experienced.  I hope I am giving you enough information since he just mentioned this to me yesterday.  He said it becomes incredibly painful at times and is like a nerve pain shooting up his leg. I am very concerned about whether this is life threatening.  It seems odd to me that if it is in fact an artery that is collapsing that it would be doing so from the foot up and not the other direction.  We live in Georgia, around Athens, and he has seen several doctors but they don't seem to listen to what he is telling them and he has gotten frustrated.  Hence the very delayed visit to another physician.  
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Hello
Thats an interesting problem. Ill start by addressing your comment that he smokes but is otherwise healthy. No one that smokes is healthy and the fact that he is young and has not developed problems is merely the good grace of youth. That sermon is intended for him. Youre merely the messenger.(I had to throw that in)

With regards to your question. Even in a smoker. It is incredibly unique for a man in his thirties to develop PAD and arterial blockages significant enough to cause pain symptoms;. Additionally, it is physiologically impossible to see any artery with the naked eye in any person. Not possible. I would guess that perhaps the vascular specialist was referring to a vein. this is just a guess based upon the symptoms you describe and the type of blood vessel that might cause those symptoms in a young person. the symptoms of "skin spots and discoloration" are consistent with a vein problem known as chronic venous insufficiency.

I would recommend that he seek out evaluation by a board certified vascular surgeons. We are trained to diagnose and manage arterial and venous blood vessel problems. Ask about board certification and do not just see a so called "vascular specialist"

If this is a vein problem, it may be painful; but rarely limb threatening. It can successfully be managed and hell feel much better.

Good luck. He's luck to have a friend like you.
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Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation
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