Prevention of Intermittent Claudication

Intermittent claudication is noted by an achy, cramped, burning sensation in the thigh, calf, or foot that happens intermittently. The pain is caused by narrowing arteries that supply blood to the legs, and thus a decrease in oxygen to the leg muscles. Sometimes the condition gets worse with time and only occurs when walking.

This cramp can happen if the artery narrows due to vasospasm, atherosclerosis has caused the artery to permanently get smaller, or the artery has completely closed.

Foot pumps such as the PlexiPulse All-in-One compression therapy machine enhance arterial circulation in the lower extremities. They are proven to help manage intermittent claudication.

The National Institutes of Health shows that the most common causes of intermittent claudication are:

  • Abnormal cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease involving hemodialysis
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Recent knee, foot, or leg surgery

Symptoms typically involve moderate pain with exercise, which can get more severe. Worsening symptoms such as impotence, pain at night and when leg is elevated, tingling pain, and ulcers that do not heal can occur. Doctors should perform blood tests, compare blood pressure in different areas of the body, and conduct Doppler ultrasound or magnetic resonance exams. Typically, a doctor will recommend conservative therapy, including short periods of walk to promote the growth of new small blood vessels and compression therapy.