Conduction velocity (CV) and median frequency (MDF) during tetanic electrical stimulation of the tibialis anterior muscle were evaluated in patients with uncomplicated peripheral arterial occlusive disease. Results were analyzed with respect to biopsy determination of diameter and proportion of types 1 and 2 muscles fibers. Initial MDF and CV correlated positively with type 2, but not type 1 fiber diameter. Initial MDF was reduced bilaterally in patients with unilateral peripheral arterial occlusive disease as compared to normal subjects, indicating that chronic ischemia alone cannot explain the altered myoelectric signal. Physical training increased pain-free walking distance and raised initial MDF, though CV remained unchanged. Fatigue indices were highly interrelated, but showed no correlation with any of the other evaluation variables. Thus, initial MDF, a correlate of type 2 muscle fiber distribution in chronically ischemic tibialis anterior muscles, is altered in peripheral vascular disease. However, muscle ischemia alone cannot explain all aspects of this abnormality.