Claudication: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 5/11/2021

Claudication refers to pain or cramping felt in the lower leg due to inadequate blood flow to the muscles.

The main symptom of claudication typically is pain while walking that improves with rest. It is commonly referred to as "intermittent" claudication because it comes and goes. Other associated symptoms are reflective of the lack of blood flow to the leg and can include a

  • burning feeling in the legs,
  • cold feet,
  • a tired feeling in the legs and buttocks with walking, and
  • shiny, hairless, blotchy foot skin that may develop sores.

Often, the leg is pale when raised (elevated) and red when lowered.

Causes of claudication

The main cause of claudication is peripheral vascular disease, or peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is caused by atherosclerosis, commonly known as "hardening of the arteries."

Other claudication symptoms and signs

  • Burning Feeling in the Legs
  • Cold Feet
  • Pain or Cramping in the Lower Leg
  • Pain While Walking That Improves with Rest
  • Shiny, Hairless, Blotchy Foot Skin That May Develop Sores
  • Tired Feeling in the Legs and Buttocks with Walking


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.