Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body. Risk factors, such as smoking, lead to narrowing or occlusion of the arteries in the long term. In the majority of cases, there is a lack of circulation in the leg area so that cramp-like pain, usually in the calf, occurs when walking. Depending on the stage of the illness, these muscular pains necessitate regular stops while walking, After a short period of recovery, walking can be briefly resumed again (intermittent claudication).
A marked circulatory disorder causes pain even when at rest and without physical strain. The patient can not sleep at night because of the pain. In this case, the circulation is already so poor that there is a threat of the affected tissue dying. There are open wounds on the lower legs or feet and, in the advanced stage, black toes.
The aim of the treatment of intermittent claudication is the preservation of the ability to walk, and thus the quality of life, and, above all, the prevention of amputation. The diagnosis is made through a vascular ultrasound examination and, additionally, through computerized tomography or magnetic resonance angiography.