What Happens To Untreated Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome & When To Go To Doctor?

Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome triggers pain and contraction in the calf muscles. The condition left untreated can lead to long-lasting pain and nerve damage.1,2

When you have a calf or foot cramping during exercising or strenuous activity that gets better with rest you should consider visiting a doctor.3

PAES is often found in young athletes because of the enlargement of muscles and instigates pain. Talk to your healthcare provider to identify the syndrome.4

Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES) is a disorder that has analogous indications to Peripheral Artery Disease but tends to influence a younger age group. It affects the legs, most often in younger male athletes.

It is produced by immediate constriction of the popliteal artery as it tosses in the interior or exits the popliteal artery. In rare cases, it occurs from birth due to the way the calf muscles develop.

What Happens To Untreated Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome?

When this disorder occurs, the individual may suffer discomfort, coldness in the feet, exhaustion, or cramping in the calf during physical activity. Most symptoms improve after a few minutes of rest. It is remarkably unusual and typically affects young athletes, normally men, and often exhibit symptoms of claudication.

Medical research demonstrates that diagnosis should be considered early to treat the syndrome and to prevent the progression of the condition. The key to the management of PAES is often dependent on the high index of suspicion. The best choice of treatment recommended by most doctors is surgery. Early identification of the disease at an early stage may require a simple incision to release the compression of the artery.1

However, when the condition is not identified for a long time and left untreated, the artery would be compressed resulting in intimal impairment requiring bypass of the affected division. Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome produces soreness and contraction in the calf muscles. The condition left untreated can lead to long-lasting pain and nerve damage.

Furthermore, when complicated PAES is not properly managed, it can lead to the popliteal artery stenosis (an occlusive disease that completely blocks blood supply through the popliteal artery and into the lower leg), popliteal artery thrombosis (a rare vascular complication commonly caused by indirect mechanism than direct mechanism), as well as distal arterial thromboembolism( obstruction of blood flow usually followed by infarction).2

When To Go To The Doctor For Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome?

Most cases of popliteal artery entrapment syndrome resolve with rest after activities however a small portion of the cases give rise to symptoms. Claudication was the most frequent presenting symptom and may include cramping, numbness, or pain.

Several of these symptoms typically occur during exercises and disappear on its own with rest. It is often advisable to go to the doctor when you have a calf or foot cramping during exercising or strenuous activity that gets better with rest.

Your doctor may request an initial screening examination to assess for entrapment. In addition to that, you may be tested for blood pressures in the arms and legs before and after your physical activity. Based on the diagnosis surgery may be recommended to correct the problem and to eliminate the compression of the artery.

Surgery is performed to resume normal blood flow to the leg and to alter the muscle and tendons. When the condition not treated for a long time, the compression worsens, and the artery gets blocked which necessitates a bypass around the congested portion of the artery to repair blood flow.3,4

References:

  1. “Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome Symptoms & Treatment: UPMC.” UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, www.upmc.com/services/heart-vascular/conditions-treatments/popliteal-artery-entrapment-syndrome.
  2. “POPLITEAL ARTERY ENTRAPMENT SYNDROME: Sports Medicine Today.” POPLITEAL ARTERY ENTRAPMENT SYNDROME | Sports Medicine Today, www.sportsmedtoday.com/popliteal-artery-entrapment-syndrome-va-252.htm
  3. “Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 July 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/popliteal-artery-entrapment/symptoms-causes/syc-20465211.
  4. “Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome (PAES).” Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome (PAES) | Johns Hopkins Medicine, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/popliteal-artery-entrapment-syndrome-paes.

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