What is Claudication?
Claudication is pain or cramping in the legs caused by too little blood flow to the muscles during physical activity. The pain usually radiates from the buttocks, thighs, and calves, typically after you have been walking for a long period of time at a brisk pace. You may not notice it during short walks or when moving at a leisurely pace, which is why many people assume it is just a sign of aging.
You might hear the term “intermittent claudication” used to describe this condition because of how it flares and dissipates depending on the type, duration, and intensity of exercise. If left untreated, claudication can worsen to the point where it is noticeable even when you are resting or trying to sleep.
Claudication is the most common symptom of peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is a circulatory condition in the limbs characterized by arteries that become narrow due to plaque buildup. This buildup restricts blood flow to the tissues and muscles of the limbs but most often in the legs. While this is a serious condition, treatment is available at USA Vascular Centers that can improve symptoms.
What Causes Claudication in the Legs?
Leg claudication occurs when there is too little oxygen transported to the muscles through the bloodstream. When the muscles are working, such as when you are climbing stairs or going for a walk, they require more oxygen than when you are resting.
Oxygen is carried through the bloodstream and converts glucose into fuel for your muscles. More blood needs to be pumped when the muscles are active because they require more energy to function as expected.
Adequate blood flow cannot properly transport nutrients to the muscles through narrowed arteries. This is the reason you may experience claudication as you exercise but feel fine when you are sitting or lying down.
Does Peripheral Artery Disease Cause Claudication?
Peripheral artery disease can cause claudication and is the most common sign of the condition. PAD occurs when there is excess plaque buildup in the lower extremity arteries, which leads to claudication and decreased mobility.
Signs of claudication from PAD include:
- Pain in the calves, feet, thighs, hips, or buttocks
- Soreness in muscles every time you are active
- Discomfort is alleviated at rest
If left untreated, the pain may become more severe and disturb you even when you are resting. Talk to a vascular doctor about how minimally invasive treatment can reduce your pain and improve your mobility.
How to Treat Claudication Caused by PAD
USA Vascular Centers is dedicated to caring for patients who suffer from claudication caused by PAD through minimally invasive treatments. Your vascular doctor may recommend an angioplasty, which opens up the narrowed arteries to allow more blood to flow through. This procedure may be performed in conjunction with stent placement where a mesh stent is placed inside the artery to hold it open.
Treatment can help alleviate the symptoms of claudication, allowing you to enjoy increased mobility and the daily activities you love.
Schedule a Consultation with USA Vascular Centers
If you’ve been suffering from claudication, you can get help at USA Vascular Centers. Our vascular specialists will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that can reduce claudication and allow you to enjoy life again.