Leg Pains Caused by Intermittent Claudication

When you are a participant in physical activities, you may sometimes experience little aches and pains. However, a little pain can be a sign of a big problem, and thus it should not be ignored. If you consistently have leg pains, for instance, it could be more than just sore muscles.  Sometimes the reason is a condition called intermittent claudication. This affects your blood’s ability to flow normally, and when there is not enough blood flow during exercise, it can lead to pain and discomfort. Over time, the blood flow may be so low that you experience the same pains even when you’re not exercising. Fortunately, this is treatable—Dr. Harvery Danciger can help you kiss your pain good-bye!

Cause of Intermittent Claudication

This condition is usually associated with peripheral artery disease.  Since your blood flows through your arteries, when they become clogged with fat or plaque, they narrow and inhibit the blood from passing through them. The narrower your arteries get, the harder it is for blood to flow.  This decrease in blood flow is a common culprit of the leg pains brought on by intermittent claudication.

Symptomatic Pain

With this condition, you at first may experience pain only during exercise. Be aware of pains in your feet, legs, calves, buttocks, or hips because these are typically indicators that you may be suffering from intermittent claudication.

The term intermittent means that your pain is not constant, but rather it comes and goes as you are exercising.  Over time, the condition can worsen, and you may begin to feel the pain while at rest as well. 

Your toes, feet, or legs may start to turn bluish or become cold. This is because low blood flow can cause skin to become discolored and limbs to lose their warmth—sure signs of trouble.

Risk Factors

There are certain things that increase your chances of developing intermittent claudication.  Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes are all risk factors. The best way to avoid the things on this list is to incorporate a healthy diet and exercise into your daily routine.

People over the age of 70 are also susceptible to the condition, as are those who have family members with peripheral artery disease or claudication.

Treatments

The main treatment option for intermittent claudication is medication that reduces the likelihood of blood clots.  Fewer blood clots increase blood flow and reduce claudication and leg pains. 

In severe cases where medication alone is not enough, angioplasty may have to be performed. In this procedure, a tube is inserted into your arteries and is expanded to widen them. This will dramatically increase blood flow and reduce your pain.

If blood vessels are extremely damaged, a surgeon might replace them with healthy ones to help further increase blood flow.

If you are experiencing leg pains, call Dr. Harvey Danciger at (760) 568-0108 to schedule an appointment today.  You shouldn’t have to live with pain and discomfort.  Come visit us in Palm Desert, CA so we can help you get back to the pain-free life you deserve.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle