Penn Herb Wellness Guide

Intermittent Claudication

When taking a walk leaves you in pain, a hardening of the leg arteries may be the reason. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Intermittent Claudication: Main Image

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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.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Smoking is directly linked to intermittent claudication.1, 2 People who have intermittent claudication or wish to prevent it should not smoke.

Although exercise may be helpful in the treatment of intermittent claudication, it is important for all people with this condition to consult a healthcare practitioner before beginning an exercise program.3, 4

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2021.