Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extracellular matrix-modifying enzymes that are important in many physiologic and pathologic vascular processes. Dysregulation of MMP activity has been associated with common vascular diseases such as atherosclerotic plaque formation, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and critical limb ischemia. For this reason, MMPs have become an important focus for basic science studies and clinical investigations by vascular biology researchers. This article reviews the recent literature, summarizing our current understanding of the role of MMPs in the pathogenesis of various peripheral vascular disease states. In addition, the importance of MMPs in the future diagnosis and treatment of peripheral vascular disease is discussed.