Published on April 15, 2021

Specialized Therapy Helped Gladwin Man Overcome PAD Pain

Crowley can finally maneuver up and down the ladder to work on his Boston Whaler.

The pain and discomfort in Larry Crowley’s legs was getting worse and making it difficult for him to complete daily tasks. Even walking down the drive to his mailbox or climbing a ladder caused extreme pain in his legs and calves. As a former MidMichigan Health employee and survivor of a triple bypass, Crowley knew that he shouldn’t delay following up with his Primary Care Provider Teona Maghlakelidze, M.D.

After reviewing his symptoms, Dr. Maghlakelidze referred him to Vascular Surgeon Constantinos Constantinou, M.D., and Physician Assistant Nichola Jardas, P.A.-C., where he was diagnosed with mild right lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD) and moderate left lower extremity PAD. After discussing the condition with Crowley, Dr. Constantinou prescribed Supervised Exercise Therapy (SET) to help prevent the progression of the disease and to improve the pain he was experiencing.

Crowley, a Gladwin resident, was able to complete this specialized PAD therapy through the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at MidMichigan Medical Offices in Gladwin. The treatment involves supervised exercise that helps decrease PAD symptoms; improve pain-free walking distance, quality of life and muscle function; and achieve overall risk reduction benefits.

PAD is the narrowing or blocking of the arteries in extremities, most commonly in the legs, and can be common in those who have heart disease. Often, cardiac rehab is a successful way to treat PAD without a surgical procedure.

“Previous experience taught me the importance of being a dedicated participant when it comes to prescribed therapy,” said Crowley. “I was happy to have the opportunity to work with therapists close to home since it was needed three times per week.”

Crowley began a 12-week program in the fall of 2020. His program centered around walking on a treadmill, increasing walk times and the incline to help strengthen blood flow in the legs and lessen his pain. “Mr. Crowley was asked to work through some intense pain that can be very difficult to overcome,” said MidMichigan Exercise Physiologist Kaitlyn Prince. “He put a lot of trust in our education and suggestions. He never missed a session and worked very hard each time he was here.”

Throughout the course of his treatment, Crowley also worked with therapists Annie Day and Brianna Campbell. “The expertise of all the therapists I worked with was incredible,” he said. “Each small tweak and adjustment they taught me had a big impact, and they explained everything thoroughly. Everyone I worked with was very encouraging and celebrated my achievements right along with me.”

After working with the Gladwin rehab team, Crowley reported “obvious and profound” improvements in his ability to maneuver without pain, whether up and down the ladder to work on his boat or with daily household tasks. As a retired physicist, he looks forward to remaining active and taking his Boston Whaler boat south to fine-tune his sea fishing skills.

“My experiences at cardiac rehab were 100 percent positive,” said Crowley. “I have the greatest respect for the knowledge possessed by the therapists who worked with me, and the way in which they shared it. They are a truly great group of people.”

Those who would like more information about PAD or MidMichigan’s specialized PAD Program may visit www.midmichigan.org/pad.