Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Analyzing those pesky leg pains

Q. My lower leg hurts when I walk. Could it be peripheral artery disease?

A. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) surely is one cause of leg pain. Plaques of atherosclerosis can block leg arteries, starving the legs of blood. If the muscles don't get the blood supply they need, they scream in pain.

When PAD is the cause of your leg pain, you usually do not have any pain at rest. The pain starts after you start walking. If you stop walking, and the leg muscles stop working as hard, the pain gradually goes away. Leg pain from PAD is most often in the calf, but it can be in the upper leg or even in the buttock.

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