Leg Aneurysms |Symptoms and Treatment | MedStar Health

A weakened bulge in an artery in the leg

An aneurysm occurs in a weak spot of an artery, causing it to balloon. Most leg aneurysms form along the popliteal artery, which runs behind your knee. Aneurysms can put you at risk for blood clots, decreased blood flow, and compression of nearby nerves, as well as critical limb ischemia and loss of limb.

Our Vascular Surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating complex vascular conditions such as aneurysms. Your care team will work with you to determine a treatment plan that may involve monitoring the aneurysm with advanced imaging tools or repairing it with minimally invasive techniques.


Many leg aneurysms are small and do not cause symptoms. When symptoms develop, it’s usually because a blood clot has formed or the aneurysm is compressing nearby structures. At this point, you may experience:

  • Coldness in your foot

  • Discoloration of the leg or foot

  • Pain in your leg or foot

  • Pulsating mass along a blood vessel

  • Swelling in the leg or foot

  • Tingling or numbness


Diagnosing a potential vascular condition is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.

Angiogram (Angiography)

An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

Arterial Duplex Ultrasound for Arms and Legs

Arterial duplex ultrasound uses Doppler and traditional ultrasound to assess blood flow in the arteries of your arms and legs.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.


A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.

Fractional Flow Reserve

Fractional flow reserve, also known as FFR, is a measurement of how well blood can flow through the coronary arteries. Narrowing or blockages in these arteries can lead to a heart attack without treatment.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, uses a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Pulse Volume Recording

Pulse volume recording tests are used to evaluate blood flow through the arteries in your arms or legs.

Stress Tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.


Careful monitoring or lifestyle changes may be the only treatment needed for a small aneurysm. For more complex cases, we offer several options, including minimally invasive techniques.


Stenting uses a mesh tube to open narrow blood vessels and improve blood flow.

Vascular Disease Treatments

Vascular disease treatments address conditions that affect the blood vessels, which can cause blood flow to become decreased, interrupted, or slowed.

Venous Disease Treatments

Venous disease treatment may include medications, minimally invasive or surgical procedures to improve blood flow and circulation.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net. If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.