Claudication is a common condition where pain occurs in the legs with exercise due to a reduction in the circulation. The cause is hardening of the arteries otherwise known as atherosclerosis. The common symptom is of a cramp like pain developing in the calf muscles on walking.
Treatment for Leg Cramps in Elderly Adults
See your doctor as soon as possible if you have: Signs of infection, such as redness, warmth or tenderness, or you have a fever greater than100 F (37.8 C) A leg that is swollen, pale or unusually cool. Calf pain, particularly after prolonged sitting, such as on a long car trip or plane ride.
Most leg pain results from wear and tear, overuse, or injuries in joints or bones or in muscles, ligaments, tendons or other soft tissues. Some types of leg pain can be traced to problems in your lower spine. Leg pain can also be caused by blood clots, varicose veins or poor circulation.
Walking is the simplest way to strengthen leg muscles while building other blood vessels to feed the muscles. Start slow – short walks several times a week. If discomfort arises, stop for a few minutes. Over time, try walking longer distances.
While those are among the most common causes of sudden leg weakness in the elderly, sudden weakness in the legs can also be caused by a stroke, and a laundry list of less common conditions like Guillain-Barre syndrome, Multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s, ALS, spinal tumors, and others.
Don’t lift, push, or pull heavy items without help. Stretching and exercises like yoga and Pilates can help keep your muscles long and limber, and can help when you’re feeling sore, too. If your muscles are hurting, try RICE therapy and over-the-counter pain medicine. See your doctor if you’re in a lot of pain.
Serious cases of peripheral artery disease can cause leg pain even when the person isn’t walking. This “rest pain” most often occurs in the feet. Even more serious are cases when the condition leads to tissue death and gangrene.
Seek immediate medical attention if you observe these symptoms:
Leg pain and chest pain do not typically occur together. However, there is a connection between leg pain and heart health, so a person may experience both of these symptoms at the same time. If a person is experiencing chest pain, they should seek medical attention immediately as it may indicate a heart attack.
During walking the leg muscles use more oxygen which is supplied by the circulating blood. If the supply is reduced the oxygen is used up and the muscles become painful. After a rest the oxygen levels return to normal and it is possible to walk again.
Claudication is a symptom of a narrowing or blockage of an artery. Typical symptoms of claudication include: Pain, a burning feeling, or a tired feeling in the legs and buttocks when you walk. Shiny, hairless, blotchy foot skin that may get sores.
Dehydration Dehydration is one of the most common causes of leg cramps. A cramp is an involuntary contraction of a muscle. The fluids in your body allow your muscles to relax, but—when those muscles are dehydrated—they get irritable and prone to cramping.
The heavy feeling in legs typically is a result of poor circulation. Circulation issues are experienced more in the lower part of your body (primarily the legs) because this part of your body has to fight hard against gravity to get the blood all the way back up to your heart.
Heart failure is a common condition, affecting approximately 5 million people in the United States. People with heart failure are encouraged to exercise and lose weight. However, many people with heart failure develop weakness in their leg muscles, which can make exercise difficult.