Claudication is discomfort in the calf, thigh or buttocks that occurs when walking or exercising. As much as 10 percent of the U.S. population has occasional claudication, which is also known as peripheral vascular disease.
Symptoms include pain with exertion, muscle cramping or weakness, and a burning feeling or tired sensation in the lower extremities. Claudication is an indicator of systemic atherosclerosis and increases an individual’s risk of heart attack by three to four times.
Why Choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?
Vascular surgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are experienced in the management of claudication and offer treatment including exercise therapy; risk factor modification; medication; a full complement of endovascular and interventional procedures, including angioplasty and stenting; and surgery.
What Is Claudication?
Claudication occurs when an artery in your legs or your aorta (the largest artery in the body) is narrowed or blocked by atherosclerosis, which decreases blood flow to your leg muscles.
Other symptoms you may have include shiny, hairless, cold and ulcerated skin. When you develop a severe lack of blood flow in your limb, you may have pain in your foot during rest. If you’re a man, you may also have impotence.
What Causes Claudication?
The most common cause of blockage of arteries is atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque (fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium and fibrin in the inner lining of an artery). Blockages in the leg are most common in the thigh and behind the knee. Risk factors for claudication and atherosclerosis include smoking cigarettes and tobacco use, diabetes, age greater than 70, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.