Is Hip Pain a Sign of Peripheral Artery Disease and Claudication?
If you’ve been experiencing pain in the hips while walking, you may be wondering if your discomfort is actually peripheral artery disease, hip pain and claudication. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that affects the arteries in the feet, ankles, and legs. It’s caused by atherosclerosis or buildup of plaque in the vascular system that inhibits blood flow.
One of the most notable signs of PAD is calf and leg pain while walking, a symptom known as intermittent claudication. Hip pain can signify several different issues, but it can also be part of intermittent claudication and PAD.
If you think your hip pain might be related to PAD, our board-certified vascular doctors at USA Vascular Centers can help. Our doctors are experts at diagnosing and treating PAD, and they will provide you with a personalized care plan to help you live the fullest life possible after a PAD diagnosis.
Causes of Hip Pain
Each person has two hip joints, one on each side of the pelvis, and the pelvic bone and hip joints, along with the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support them, are considered the hip area. Several arteries supply blood to the hip, buttock, and upper leg region. Because of the complex anatomy of the hip, there are a multitude of hip pain causes, including arthritis, injuries, pinched nerves, osteoporosis, and cancer.1
Hip pain that only lasts a few days may be caused by a minor injury sustained while exercising. Hip pain that resists painkillers and constantly hurts may signify a more severe injury or problem. If this is the case for you, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor to find out what might be causing the pain in your hip.
In other cases, your hip pain may only appear during exercise, disappearing once you’re at rest. This is a classic feature of intermittent claudication: pain that flares up during exercise and recedes afterward. The discomfort results from the narrowed arteries in your hips being unable to keep up with your leg and hip muscles’ increased need for oxygen-rich blood during exercise.2 Hip claudication, as this is called, is a type of peripheral artery disease hip pain.
If you suspect that your hip pain when walking is related to PAD, there are several tests our doctors at USA Vascular can perform to help diagnose the condition, including an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test, an angiogram, or a vascular ultrasound.
In addition, it’s a good idea to see if you have any of the risk factors for PAD: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, or advanced age. You may also be experiencing additional PAD symptoms, such as numbness or tingling in the hips, legs, or feet; hair loss on your legs; and poor toenail growth.
If you have hip claudication and one or more of these risk factors or PAD symptoms, it’s important to get screened for PAD right away. Even if you do not, to your knowledge, have any risk factors, it’s wise to pay attention to hip pain when walking.
Many PAD cases don’t become evident until the atherosclerosis is moderate to severe, which is partially because it’s easy to dismiss the symptoms as the normal aches and pains of getting older. With a diagnosis, you and your doctor can take charge of your condition. PAD treatment can help relieve peripheral artery disease hip claudication and allow you to live your full, regular life.
How to Treat Hip Pain and Peripheral Artery Disease
For mild PAD, your healthcare professional may recommend lifestyle changes, such as beginning a walking program, quitting smoking, and consulting with a nutritionist to develop a healthy eating plan. Moderate to advanced PAD may need additional treatment. At USA Vascular Centers, our doctors can perform minimally invasive procedures to widen blocked arteries, including an angioplasty, stent placement, or atherectomy.
These procedures are done in an outpatient setting at one of our state-of-the-art clinics. They take just 30 to 45 minutes to complete, and after a short post-treatment observation period, you can recover in the comfort of your own home. After treatment, you may notice a decrease in hip claudication, allowing you to develop that walking plan and stay on the road to better health.
Schedule a Consultation With USA Vascular Centers
At USA Vascular Centers, our compassionate vascular specialists can perform an angioplasty, stent placement, or atherectomy to help treat peripheral artery disease and hip pain. Because our outpatient centers are accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC), you can rest in knowing that we meet rigorous patient safety standards. Our accreditation also qualifies us for Medicare and Medicaid certification.