What is the difference between pseudoclaudication and claudication?
Answers from Mayo Clinic Staff
Pseudoclaudication and claudication cause similar symptoms — leg pain while standing or walking — but for different reasons.
Pseudoclaudication can be a symptom of lumbar spinal stenosis, a condition that occurs when the spaces narrow between the vertebrae in your lower back. Normal aging shrinks the disks that act as cushions between vertebrae. Bone spurs can further reduce the space available in the spine.
The nerve roots that control movement and sensation in your legs pass through narrow openings in your spine. If these openings become too narrow, they can put pressure on the nerve roots and cause pseudoclaudication pain. The narrowing is made worse by standing or walking. Pseudoclaudication pain is usually relieved by sitting or lying down.
The pain associated with claudication occurs for an entirely different reason. Claudication is caused by peripheral artery disease, a circulation problem that decreases blood flow to leg muscles. The reduced amount of fuel and oxygen can cause muscle pain, especially during exercise. Vascular claudication causes pain when the muscles are in use and is relieved when the muscles are allowed to rest.
Apr. 15, 2014
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- Wheeler SG, et al. Approach to the diagnosis and evaluation of low back pain in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.
- Peripheral arterial disease. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/peripheral_arterial_disorders/peripheral_arterial_disease.html?qt=peripheral artery disease&alt=sh. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.
- Levin K. Lumbar spinal stenosis: Pathophysiology, clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.