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Question:

Intermittent claudication - Pain in both legs

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I have pain in both my legs when i walk a distance i have to stop and start walking again. i know its the veins not getting blood but i can't go see a doctor i can't get an appointment until april. is there any thing i can do in the meantime, could i use a ace band or something or is there cream for it.


Answer:

Pain that develops in the muscles of the legs when taking exercise, such as walking could be due to intermittent claudication (vascular claudication). The calf muscles are mostly affected and patients usually describe this a a cramping discomfort. Initially most are able to walk through the pain but as disease progresses, it is not possible to walk and can only be relieved by resting. The principal risk factors for the development of peripheral artery disease (PAD) or intermittent claudication are cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Therapy for intermittent claudication may involve medical, percutaneous, and/or surgical approaches. Most patients with intermittent claudication, except for those with critical limb ischemia, are treated initially with medical therapy. Pharmacologic therapy of claudication is aimed at symptomatic relief or slowing the progression of the natural disease. Anti-platelet drugs like aspirin or clopidogrel may be prescribed by your doctor if there is evidence of of PAD. Creams and bands will not relieve your symptoms. Avoid smoking (if you smoke) and consult a physiotherapist for a supervised exercise program that is recommended as part of the initial treatment regimen. It should be performed for a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes at least three times per week for a minimum of 12 weeks.


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