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Ischemia of the lower extremities

Clinical Overview

Reviewed by Brian R. Robinson, MD

Inadequate blood flow to a body part or organ is called ischemia (also commonly referred to as “poor circulation”). In the leg, ischemia can cause cramping pain on exertion that resolves at rest. This condition is called claudication; eventually, it can lead to pain while the legs are at rest. In severe cases, non-healing skin ulcers and gangrene may result if the problem progresses.

Ischemia can be the result of a variety of underlying causes, including low blood pressure, arteriosclerosis (blocking of the arteries due to plaque buildup along artery walls), smoking, diabetes, and chronic inactivity.

Last updated: Jan-01-00

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