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Intermittent Claudication – signs and symptoms

Intermittent Claudication – signs and symptoms

Leg pain is localized in different areas of the extremities and may be due to various reasons. Leg pain duration and the characteristics of complaints enable to make an assessment  of the fundamental cause of suffering. Characteristic for insufficient blood supply, leading to intermittent claudication, are only complaints that appear after some physical exertion and disappear quickly – about a minute after cessation of effort. Pain in legs when sitting, lying or standing, which often disappear when walking are not due to disturbance circulation.In such symptoms is necessary to seek other reasons for complaints.

    Intermittent claudication

Intermittent claudication

Causes for leg pain in Intermittent Claudication

The same disease that causes angina and myocardial infarction – named atherosclerosis when affecting other arterial vessel – the femoral artery or its branches, results in leg pain and lameness in fast walking or running. Symptoms develop following the mechanism – at rest and during exercise slightly narrowed artery supplies the limb with enough blood, but in increased need arises temporarily insufficient blood flow – ischemia. The latter causes leg pain and intermittent claudication or intermittent lameness (Claudicatio intermittens). Because of the individual degree of narrowing of femoral artery, the patient will always begin to limp because of pain in the legs when he ran 40 meters. Another person with severe atherosclerosis, will be able to travel only 20 meters before it starts to limp etc. When you stop exercise and the muscles stop working, they will not need so much blood(oxygen) and then the limp disappeares. Therefore, the disease is called intermittent lameness or intermittent claudication.


What will happen if in one moment femoral artery of this patient is completely blocked? This will stop the blood flow in his leg and if it is not operated in the next 1-2 hours, the leg will die, ie it will develop gangrene.

Diagnosis for leg pain due to intermittent claudication 
In case of suspected narrowing of the artery of a limb, it is imperative to verify patency of the vessels by checking the pulse and auscultation of blood flow. Besides, it has to be checked the pulse of all accessible to palpation arteries. Peripherally from the site of stenosis (blockage) of the vessel, the pulse will be weak or missing. Such obstruction can be demonstrated by angiography, and in some cases, a specific test – color Doppler ultrasound.

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Filed in: Blood Vessels

4 Responses to “Intermittent Claudication – signs and symptoms”

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