What Is the Difference Between Claudication and Spinal Stenosis?


Quick Answer

Although the symptom of leg pain is associated with both claudication and spinal stenosis, the difference between these conditions is their specific causes. Claudication is primarily due toperipheral artery disease in which there is a narrowing of arteries, while spinal stenosis developswhen there is narrowing in the vertebrae spaces found in the backbone, explains Mayo Clinic. The narrowing of these spaces between vertebrae can be the result of the aging process, genetics and arthritis, reports WebMD.

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Although pain that runs down the back of the leg can be a symptom of spinal stenosis, the condition can also present pain in the lumbar region. Approximately 75 percent of people with spinal stenosis have symptoms that affect thelumbarregion, states WebMD. When spinal stenosis causes pain in thelegs it is due topinched nerves that are in the spacing between vertebrae.

Claudication can cause pain in the muscles of buttock and different parts of the leg. Peripheral artery disease involves the hardening of arteries due to plaque. This is called atherosclerosis, and it can narrow arteries so that blood circulation is diminished in the affected area. explains the University of California, Davis Vascular Center. Some risk factors also associated with peripheral artery disease are being a smoker, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. In some case, a possibletreatment option for claudication can be surgery called atherectomy.

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