Any blockage in the veins located in the lower extremities would cause a sensation of pain. Pain occurring at walk, in particular would relieve after some rest. As a condition causing movement restrictions, claudication is also known as walking pain. The individual feels pain or discomfort in the calves, hips, feet and thighs. The most remarkable feature of pain is that it starts when walking and disappears at rest becoming even more severe when going up and down the stairs or hills.
Claudication occurs as a result of blockage of veins in the legs and may vary depending on the type of localization. In case of blockage of veins above the inguinal area, the pain would be felt around the calves and the thighs, whereas any blockage of arteries in the knee would result in a feeling of pain in the feet. In addition, in the case of blocked aorta and iliac vessels, the pain sensation would be in the hips.
What Should Be Done For Treating Claudication?
Although claudication is a problem of the circulatory system, it does not become a life-threatening situation. Nevertheless it must be kept under control against the risk of lowering the quality of life and causing more severe problems. Following a detailed examination and investigation of the problem by a vascular surgeon, location of the blockage is identified and treatment planning is made.
The first step of claudication treatment involves avoidance of factors causing stenosis in the vessels. Therefore, the patient must
- Stop smoking
- Keep diabetes under control
- Keep cholesterol low
- Treat high blood pressure
- Preserve ideal weight
Exercise programs and walking schedules must be strictly followed both to avoid blockage in the vessels and to overcome claudication. The walking schedule should be designed in such a way that would require longer distance every time.
Surgery or Non-Surgery in Claudication?
Exercise programs and life-style modifications do not suffice for relieving vascular blockages and pain in some patients suffering from claudication. Therefore, in patients with a very short walking distance, surgery is necessary to avoid any interruption in the activities of daily life and any movement restriction. Surgical patients correspond to 2% of the patient population.
Patient’s age and physical fitness as well as severity of the problem play part in treatment planning. In some patients, the situation progressively worsens causing problems such as gangrene and foot ulcers. These patients must be treated surgically.
Is There Any Medical Treatment For Claudication?
Claudication is the result of vascular stenosis in the legs. Therefore, the treatment should start from vascular blockages. Medical treatment is given to lower the blood pressure, to keep high cholesterol and diabetes under control, and to prevent any clotting. Treatment of these problems would also contribute to recovery of the claudication problems.