Claudication is the occurrence of cramps, pain, limping and numbness in one or both legs during walking, with the absence of these symptoms during standstill. The most common causes of the disease are the occlusive and other circulatory diseases of the arteries and veins of the lower extremities.
Arteriosclerosis affects up to 10% of the population older than 65 years and in about 5% of cases of that percentage intermittent claudication occurs. Intermittent claudication most often manifests in men older than 50 years.
It refers to a narrowed blood vessel that, while the patient is resting, can nourish muscle extremities. However, when the patient moves, the blood vessel is unable to meet metabolic needs and therefore muscle cramps and leg pain occurs. It is interesting to say that patients quickly recover and continue to walk. Why is that? What happens? Vasodilatation (expansion of surrounding blood vessels) occurs at the place with insufficient blood so that these blood vessels assume the role of muscle blood supply.
Intermittent claudication is a condition characterized by pain, tension and weakness of the legs during walking, and it ceases by stopping walking.
The first problems that the patient will feel are called intermittent claudication. They are leg cramps that patients are experiencing while walking or climbing. They mostly occur commonly in the lower part of the leg, and force the patient to stop and to continue walking when the pain alleviates. With lighter forms of the disease, leg cramps occur after more than 200 feet walking on the flat. If, however, the walking track is less than 200 meters long, and the patient is experiencing muscle cramps or leg pain, than he or she definitely needs immediate medical attention. In more severe cases cramps occur at rest, and at worst cases patients, gangrene of the legs develops, ie, death and infection of tissue due to lack of blood supply.
The most common causes of intermittent claudication are:
1. Peripheral arterial disease (vascular intermittent claudication);
it develops as a consequence of lower extremity arterial disease
Usually there is a Obliterative atherosclerosis, thromboangiitis or repeated atheroembolism.
2. Disease of the peripheral veins (venous stagnation due to damage to valves in veins)
3. Narrowing (stenosis) of spinal canal (neurogenic intermittent claudication);
caused by peripheral neuropathy with Syringomyelia, diabetes mellitus, tabes dorsalis, spinal nerve injury, repetitive trauma.
The first symptom of claudication is cramping in the lower leg, feet become cold and pale, when walking legs become heavy and there is a weak pain. Even then it is necessary to address the cardiologist, angiologists or vascular surgeon, and they can assess the condition. They can determine if it is sciatica or peripheral vein disease, inflammation of the knee or hock, or ossification of the spine and nerve pressure.
Pain and limping are the main clinical signs of a disease and at the beginning problems occur occasionally when a person is walking. The distance that a patient can cross without symptoms is called claudication distance. Severity is determined by the length of claudication distance, which signifies the length of road covered until the appearance of claudication in the extremities.
Claudication and leg cramps
Leg cramps at night are often reported with claudication, suggesting, probably, venous pathology and the deep veins. But with intermittent claudication occasional aches are far more dangerous than the leg cramps because of their arterial origin.
It is important to recognize claudication, because it rarely occurs in the classical form. Sometimes it occurs just as reduced speed during walking, fatigue or heaviness in the legs.