Objectives Ischemic conditioning (IC) is a method of angiogenic stimulus for limb ischemia. Here, we aimed to investigate the effects of short-term repeated ischemic stimulus on critical lower limb ischemic injury. Methods Rats were divided into four groups consisting of 40 animals in each group: sham, ischemia, local IC, and remote IC groups. Right-leg critical limb ischemia was achieved through ligation of the iliac artery and vein in male Sprague-Dawley rats except the sham group. Repeated transient ischemia using the tourniquet method was used for IC of lower extremities in the local and remote groups. IC was performed on the right leg for the local group and on the left leg for the remote group. Ten rats in each group were sacrificed for evaluation on days 1, 7, 14, and 30. Endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) counts were measured. Gastrocnemius muscles were evaluated for the degree of ischemia. Laser Doppler blood flow measurements were performed in order to make comparison between the blood flows of the limbs of the groups. Results The blood flow in the right limb of rats in the sham (1.65 perfusion units [PU]) and local IC (1.67 PU) groups was significantly higher than the ischemic group (1.17 PU) (p =.001 and p =.022 respectively). The levels of EPCs in the ischemia (1.09 ± 0.5) and remote IC groups (1.36 ± 0.8) were significantly higher than the sham (0.38 ± 0.2) group on day 7 (p =.026 and p =.002 respectively). Remote IC and local IC groups exhibited increased histopathological ischemia on day 7 when compared with sham group (p =.001, p =.01 respectively). The angiogenic scores on the 7th, 14th and 30th days for local IC and remote IC groups were significantly higher than sham and ischemia groups. Conclusions IC seems to be the potent activator of angiogenesis in ischemic tissue. This study provides preliminary data showing that repeated short ischemic stimuli may reduce critical ischemic injury by promoting angiogenesis.© 2013 European Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.