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Intermittent Claudication

Intermittent Claudication is caused by narrowing or blockage in part/parts of the main artery taking blood to your leg. This is due to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). The blockage means that blood flow in the leg is reduced. Blood circulation is usually sufficient when resting, but when you start walking the calf muscles cannot obtain enough blood. This causes discomfort/pain which gets better after resting for a few minutes. If greater demands are made on the muscles, such as walking uphill, the pain comes on more quickly.

Claudication usually occurs in people aged over fifty years; however it can occur much earlier in people who smoke and those who have diabetes, high blood pressure or high levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Unfortunately, the blockage/narrowing which causes the claudication will not clear itself, but the situation can improve. Smaller arteries in the leg may enlarge to carry blood around the block in the main artery, this is called collateral circulation. Many people notice some improvement in their pain as the collateral circulation develops. This normally happens within six to eight weeks of the start of the claudication symptoms.

The aim of this micro website is to develop an area for those patients and their family/care givers to access in order to gain insight into the diagnosis of 'Intermittent claudication', and to help give advice and knowledge in order for patients to improve their symptoms and seek support from other patients undergoing the same/ similar symptoms.

We hope that the following pages will help you to improve your journey with intermittent claudication.

The Vascular Team