Claudication

Kintur A. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI -  - Board Certified Cardiologist

NJ Heart & Vascular Care

Kintur A. Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Board Certified Cardiologist & Cardiovascular Physician located in Princeton, NJ & Hamilton Square, NJ

If you have leg pain when you walk, but it feels better at rest, you have claudication. And if you have claudication, you have peripheral artery disease (PAD). At NJ Heart & Vascular Care in Princeton and Hamilton Square, New Jersey, Kintur Sanghvi, MD, FACC, FSCAI, has extensive experience diagnosing and treating PAD. Dr. Sanghvi has an impressive and successful history of performing well over 1,000 interventional procedures to treat PAD. At the first sign of claudication, call or schedule an appointment so Dr. Sanghvi can restore normal blood flow through your leg.

Claudication Q & A

What is claudication?

When you have claudication, you develop leg pain that occurs when walking and then goes away when you rest. The pain occurs because the muscles can’t get enough oxygen-carrying blood. 

The muscles can manage the increased activity for a time, but as the activity outpaces the oxygen supply, pain develops. When you stop to rest, the muscle’s demand for oxygen drops, and the pain goes away.

What causes claudication?

Claudication is usually the first sign that appears in people who have peripheral artery disease. PAD develops when cholesterol plaque builds up inside a leg artery. 

This condition, atherosclerosis, continues to get worse as the plaque enlarges. Before long, it blocks the flow of blood, and you develop claudication.

Variables such as the pace you walk, the length of your walk, and the extent of the blockage determine how quickly claudication occurs.

What other symptoms accompany claudication?

By definition, claudication only causes muscle pain. In advanced stages of PAD, the muscle pain may not go away when you rest. 

PAD can cause other symptoms. You may notice problems in your lower leg, ankle, or foot, such as slow-healing wounds, thickened and discolored skin, and numbness and tingling.

Without treatment, PAD becomes so severe you can develop critical limb ischemia. This refers to tissue death that occurs due to the lack of blood. 

How do cardiologists diagnose claudication?

NJ Heart & Vascular Care is equipped with an IAC-accredited lab, allowing Dr. Sanghvi to perform a full range of diagnostic tests.

After Dr. Sanghvi reviews your medical history and symptoms and completes a thorough physical exam, he may do a diagnostic test such as:

  • Ankle-brachial index (ABI)
  • Toe-brachial index (TBI)
  • Pulse volume recording (PVR)
  • Doppler ultrasound
  • Exercise ABI and PVR


Exercising testing determines the maximum distance you can walk or how long you can walk before experiencing claudication.

How do cardiologists treat claudication?

The only way to eliminate claudication is by treating the underlying PAD. If the blockage is caught at an early stage, you may only need to make lifestyle changes and follow a program of structured exercises to relieve claudication.

Dr. Sanghvi may prescribe medication to alleviate the pain, improve blood flow, and prevent blood clots. If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, you may also need medication to treat those conditions.

If your PAD has reached a moderate or advanced stage, Dr. Sanghvi gets rid of the blockage using a minimally invasive procedure such as angioplasty and stenting.

Early treatment for claudication prevents progressive peripheral artery disease. Call NJ Heart & Vascular Care or book an appointment online today.