When taking a walk leaves you in pain, a hardening of the leg arteries may be the reason. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
About This Condition
Intermittent claudication is pain in the legs caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) of the
Because atherosclerosis decreases the supply of blood and oxygen to the legs, people with intermittent
claudication experience leg pain after walking a certain distance. People with this condition should be
monitored by a doctor. The natural treatments for intermittent claudication include many of those used for
atherosclerosis; these include controlling high cholesterol,
modifying dietary and lifestyle factors that might influence atherosclerosis, and taking various nutritional
supplements and herbs.
You should also learn more about atherosclerosis
for more information about dietary changes that might favorably influence hardening of the arteries
or the risk of heart disease associated with it. What
follows is a discussion limited to those aspects of lifestyle and natural medicine that have been studied
specifically in relation to intermittent claudication.
Initial symptoms of intermittent claudication are pain, aching, cramping, or fatigue of the muscles in the lower limbs that develop during walking and are quickly relieved by rest. Symptoms typically occur in the calf but may also be located in the foot, thigh, hip, or buttocks. In more advanced stages, the painful symptoms are present even at rest and are worsened by elevating the legs.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Smoking is directly linked to intermittent claudication.1, 2 People who have intermittent claudication or wish to prevent it should not smoke.
Although exercise may be helpful in the treatment of intermittent claudication, it is important for all people with this condition to consult a healthcare practitioner before beginning an exercise program.3, 4
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.