Vascular pain is pain caused by issues with blood flow. It’s usually a symptom of a vascular disease, which affects your blood vessels. You may also have numbness, tingling, swelling or discoloration in your hands and feet. Fortunately, treatment can help relieve pain and improve your quality of life.
Vascular pain is discomfort caused by issues with your circulation. If you experience unexplained leg pain or heaviness, it could be vascular pain. It usually affects your lower legs or ankles, although it may also affect your arms or hands.
Another name for vascular pain that affects your legs is vascular claudication. Vascular pain is less common in your arms, but it still affects around 1 in 10 people who have vascular pain.
Vascular pain often feels like an uncomfortable heaviness or throbbing sensation. It can also feel like an aching sensation. It usually affects your legs and can be worse with walking or exerting yourself.
People with vascular diseases are most likely to experience vascular pain. Vascular diseases are more common in adults over 50 and people who:
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Vascular pain is usually the result of a vascular disease. Vascular diseases may compress or inflame your blood vessels (vasculitis). Or you may have a narrowed or blocked blood vessel, which reduces blood flow.
Some of the most common causes of vascular pain include:
If you have a vascular disease, you may experience vascular pain along with:
To diagnose vascular pain, your healthcare provider will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. They often look for physical signs of vascular diseases, such as discoloration, weeping, ulcers or a weak pulse in your arm or lower leg.
Your provider may also use tests that assess your blood flow, including:
Treatment for vascular pain depends on your specific symptoms and the underlying cause of pain. Your provider may recommend:
Vascular pain can disrupt your daily activities. But there are several steps you can take to manage pain, including:
You can reduce your risk of vascular pain by taking steps to prevent vascular diseases, such as:
Vascular diseases can be lifelong conditions. But you can manage them with medical treatment and lifestyle changes. Adopting healthier habits and treating any underlying diseases can reduce pain and allow you to participate in your usual activities.
If you have vascular pain or think you could, you may also want to ask your healthcare provider:
Vasculitis is a condition of inflammation in your blood vessels. It’s one of the possible causes of vascular pain. Some types of vasculitis can cause stiffness and neck pain. It can also cause chest pain, along with:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you have periodic discomfort in your lower legs or arms, it could be vascular pain. Vascular pain arises from problems with your blood vessels and blood flow. If you feel vascular pain, it’s usually the result of a vascular disease. You might also have swelling, numbness or a tingling sensation along with pain. The good news is that a variety of lifestyle changes and medical treatments can reduce pain, helping you get back to your usual activities.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/16/2022.
Learn more about our editorial process.