Claudication describes the sensation of muscle fatigue or cramp-like pain that may occur in in one or both legs, usually after minimal exercise, such as a short walk. Symptoms are relieved after resting. The calf is the area that is most commonly affected, but symptoms may also develop in the thighs, buttocks, hips or feet. Claudication occurs more often in men than in women, particularly in men over age 55.
Causes of Claudication
Claudication is due to atherosclerois, the narrowing or blockage of the arteries of the legs. This develops from degenerative disease of the walls of the arteries. Similar symptoms can occur when the nerves the pass through the lower part of the spine are compressed. In this disorder, spinal stenosis, activity leads to decreased blood flow in the nerves. This results in fatigue or weakness of the legs. The syndrome is appropriately termed, neurogenic claudication.
Signs and Symptoms of Claudication
Symptoms of cluadication are pain. Pain develops in the muscles with insufficient blood flow to support their metabolic activity. Rest allows the situation to reverse itself, and the pain subsides. Sometimes, weakness develops in the muscles of the involved limb. Walking is limited to short distances. Due to impaired blood flow to the extremity, particularly the legs, hair loss may occur.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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