Claudication is a pain or weakness in the legs that occurs while walking or exercising. It is a serious warning sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD), where the arteries in your limbs don’t get enough oxygen due to narrowing or blockage. With PAD comes a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
Claudication: What You Need to Know
Claudication gets worse over time. For example, you may experience pain after walking six blocks. Months later, you may notice pain after walking five blocks.
If claudication progresses until you experience leg pain while resting, the symptoms are considered severe.
Claudication and PAD are usually caused by atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty plaque, cholesterol and other deposits inside your artery walls.
Your physician’s goals will be to reduce atherosclerosis through medication and lifestyle changes. Surgery or stenting — inserting an expanding tube that pushes open the artery — may become necessary.