Peripheral Arterial Disease and Claudication | Overview

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What is peripheral arterial disease?

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a problem with blood flow in the arteries, especially those in the legs. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the muscles and organs throughout your body. When you have diseased arteries, they become narrow or blocked. The most common cause of narrow or blocked arteries is the buildup of fatty deposits inside them. This is called atherosclerosis. If you have PAD, your arms, and more commonly your legs, don’t get enough blood flow. The most common complaint of people who have PAD is claudication (say: “klaw-dik-ay-shun”).

What is claudication?

Claudication is pain in the calf, thigh or hip muscle that occurs after you have walked a certain distance, such as a block or more. The pain stops after you rest for a while. Each time the pain occurs, it takes about the same amount of time for the pain to go away after you stop walking.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 01/11
Created: 09/00

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