What to Look For
Sometimes people can experience exercise pain when they have injured their muscles. But if you have chronic and persistent exercise pain or you have a noticable decrease in your exercise tolerance, it is important to take the step and see your doctor.
Exercise pain can be a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD), a progressive condition that results from plaque build-up and restricted blood flow.1,2 Affecting approximately 10 percent of those with PAD, the symptom can produce cramping pain in the muscles during exercise. You may notice changes or reductions in your exercise tolerance or threshold, meaning you can’t walk as far or exercise for as long. In addition, you may feel like you are walking with heavy weights on your legs.4
Venous conditions such as deep venous disease (DVD) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can also produce exercise pain. When blood flow is obstructed, people may feel throbbing or radiating pain up and down the leg.
When you first experience exercise pain, it may come and go only when you are active. But as the underlying condition progresses, the pain may worsen even when you are not active.
Here are signs of symptom progression:1,3