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What is Claudication or Intermittent Claudication|Causes & Symptoms of Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

What is Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

Claudication or intermittent claudication is the syndrome which arises in people who have very little flow of blood, generally during an exercise session. It is also known as intermittent claudication.1 The blood vessels of the legs and arms are affected in such syndrome.

What is Claudication or Intermittent Claudication

The first symptom in claudication or intermittent claudication is feeling pain in the limbs during exercise. As the condition starts to get worst, the pain may remain even after exercising or other times of the day.

Claudication or intermittent claudication is not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition. It indicates the chances of growing peripheral artery disease in future. The flow of blood in the patients’ limbs is found to be getting narrowed due to this disease.

Claudication or intermittent claudication is absolutely treatable and the patient can recover to gain a normal lifestyle after proper medication and lifestyle changes.

Frequently Asked Questions on Claudication or Intermittent Claudication

What is Bruit?

Claudication or intermittent claudication is an indication of possibilities of any blockage in the artery. It causes pain in the limbs and buttocks during any sort of physical movement.

  • Bruit or Vascular Murmur: Claudication or intermittent claudication is sometimes called as Bruit as the sound of the blood flowing through the artery blockage is heard through the doctor’s stethoscope. Due to the obstruction in blood flow, a vascular sound is often heard. Flow of blood is normal in areas of no obstruction in the arteries.2
  • Venous Claudication: The claudication or intermittent claudication caused due to venous stasis is called venous claudication.3

What is the Difference Between Neurogenic Claudication and Vascular Claudication?

Neurogenic Claudication: It is an accumulation of symptoms noticed in the body as the spinal cord tends to get narrow. This is also called spinal stenosis. As the nerve starts to ‘limp’, this syndrome occurs. The spinal cord is compressed and the lower point of it is limped. Due to such limp, cramps or pains in the lower back of the body is noticed. The buttock and legs are  found to be much weak due to such pain caused by neurogenic claudication.4

Vascular Claudication: Insufficient flow of blood in the arteries causes vascular claudication. Symptoms of vascular claudication sometimes mimic neurogenic claudication. The leg arteries here get narrow.

What Causes Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

Claudication or intermittent claudication occurs in a person due to the presence of peripheral artery disease in the body. Due to atherosclerosis in case of peripheral artery disease, the flow of blood in the arteries is limited. Thus it causes pain and damage to the limbs.

Atherosclerosis has a possibility to grow in any artery and is common in the heart. Due to the effect of atherosclerosis in the arms and legs, the limbs are highly damaged.

Due to the effect of Atherosclerosis, the arteries become narrow and hard. It refuses to flow the flood normally through it. The arteries are often jammed with plaque, fats, cholesterol and other accumulations. The arteries thus get narrow. Since the muscles do not get the required amount of blood, patient feels pain. Oxygen flow through blood to the leg muscles; interruption of which causes severe leg pain.

There are other symptoms of claudication other than atherosclerosis. The other reasons could be diseases like peripheral neuropathy, spinal stenosisdeep venous thrombosis or other musculoskeletal conditions.

What are the Reasons for Artery Narrowing that leads to Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

Intermittent claudication is caused due to the temporary damage of the arteries because of vasospasm or spasm of the artery. However permanent damage to the nerves is caused due to atherosclerosis. It creates complete blockage in the artery of the legs.

Who are Generally Affected by Claudication Or Intermittent Claudication?

Men are more affected by intermittent claudication than women. It is more caused to people as they turn 50, 60 or 70.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

Indications of claudication or intermittent claudication are:

  • Pain in the limbs (calves, thighs, hips, buttocks) during exercising.
  • Pain in the body even in less laborious works.
  • Pain in the body even in rest positions.
  • Ulceration or discolored skin of the sufferer; fingers and toes turn bluish with sore feet.

Other indications for claudication or intermittent claudication:

  • Burning or aching feeling in the body.
  • Weakness or fatigue.

What the Factors of Risk for Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

The factors of claudication are similar to those for atherosclerosis. These are:

  • High cholesterol level in blood
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity with over 30 body mass index
  • Uncontrolled smoking
  • Increased level of sugar or glucose in blood
  • People advancing the age of 70
  • People advancing in their 50s with smoking habits
  • People with family history of peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis or claudication or intermittent claudication.

What are the Complications in Claudication or Intermittent Claudication?

Claudication or intermittent claudication in serious stages may be severe to the legs or arms. The blood circulation is severely limited and even if you are not exercising, you feel a pain. This peripheral artery disease causes complications in ulcer and other skin injuries. The cuts in the body have a tendency to direct towards gangrene in such situation.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 21, 2019

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