Harvard Heart Letter

Many treatment choices for leg pain

Walking may be the best place to start.

Fatty blockages in the leg arteries can cause pain in the thigh or calf muscle that occurs when walking and disappears with rest. Pain occurs when the blockages restrict blood flow to the working leg muscles. This condition is called intermittent claudication, and it can become disabling.

At the point when leg pain prevents a person from walking very far, treatment may include medication, exercise, or a procedure to restore blood flow. Harvard doctors recommend starting with walking.

Walk along

"Exercise makes your muscles more efficient and improves your overall condition," says vascular specialist Dr. Joshua Beckman, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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