About This Condition
Intermittent claudication is pain in the legs caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) of the lower extremities.
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.
Exercise rehabilitation therapy, weight loss, and smoking cessation are often recommended. Surgical options to restore blood supply, called “revascularization” procedures, are usually reserved for those with progressive or disabling symptoms.