Intermittant Claudication is a disease in which blood flow is limited during a time of need, more commonly with exercise. “Intermittant” because it comes and goes, as blood is needed more symptoms appear, until blood flow is not in demand as much. “Claudication” is a latin term meaning “to limp”.
Symptoms of Intermittant Claudication are usually described as pain, tightness, pressure cramps, aching muscles, or a deep pulling sensation. This is most common in the lower extremities following or during activity such as a light jog or normal walking. Symptoms can occur at any site there is a diminished blood flow. Pain usually becomes so severe that you cannot walk another step until a period of rest.
Causes of Intermittant Claudication can be from any number of reasons that there is decreased blood flow to the limb. Smoking narrows the lumen of the arteries making blood flow sluggish and blood volume limited.
Diagnosis is usually made by the history of your complaint or symptoms. You should consult your physician and let them be aware of the condition, how long it has lasted and its progression. You also should be aware of how long or what distance you can walk/run before symptoms begin and how long you must rest before resuming the activity. Commonly, measurement is made in how many “city blocks” you estimate you can walk before rest.
Prevention for Intermittant Claudication is important and begins with stopping all smoking of nicotine and starting or maintaining an exercise program to increase the collateral blood flow.
Podiatric Care for conservative treatment may be with use of an exercise program, stopping smoking, or use of medications that can improve the ability of the blood to flow through your vessels. Your Podiatrist may also refer you to a vascular specialist if indicated and for more advanced disease of the vascular system.
Surgery maybe indicated in order to improve the circulation of blood flow to the legs/feet. These procedures are usually termed “bypass” surgeries as some narrow or occluded vessels are bypassed with a graft to allow for proper blood flow.