Claudication

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Why does claudication come and go?

The usually intermittent nature of the pain of claudication is due to a temporary inadequate supply of oxygen to the muscles of the leg. The poor oxygen supply is a result of narrowing of the arteries that supply the leg with blood. This limits the supply of oxygen to the leg muscles and is especially noticeable when the oxygen requirement of these muscles rises with exercise or walking. Claudication that comes and goes is often referred to as intermittent claudication.

What can cause the artery narrowing that leads to claudication?

Intermittent claudication can be due to temporary artery narrowing due to spasm of the artery (vasospasm), permanent artery narrowing due to atherosclerosis, or from the complete blockage of an artery of the leg.

Who typically is affected by claudication?

Intermittent claudication is more common in men than in women. The condition affects 1% to 2% of the population under 60 years of age, increasing in incidence with age, to affect over 18% of persons over 70 years of age, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

What are the risk factors for claudication and peripheral vascular disease?

Risk factors for peripheral artery disease and claudication include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/5/2015
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