Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) leads to chronic vascular occlusion and results in end organ damage in critically perfused limbs. There are currently no clinical methods available to determine the muscular damage induced by chronic mal-perfusion. This monocentric prospective cross-sectional study investigated n = 193 adults, healthy to severe PAD, in order to quantify the degree of calf muscle degeneration caused by PAD using a non-invasive hybrid ultrasound and single wavelength optoacoustic imaging (US/SWL-OAI) approach. While US provides morphologic information, SWL-OAI visualizes the absorption of pulsed laser light and the resulting sound waves from molecules undergoing thermoelastic expansion. US/SWL-OAI was compared to multispectral data, clinical disease severity, angiographic findings, phantom experiments, and histological examinations from calf muscle biopsies. We were able to show that synergistic use of US/SWL-OAI is most likely to map clinical degeneration of the muscle and progressive PAD.