When Varicose Veins Become Symptomatic

The twisted and gnarled blood vessels close to the surface of the skin of your legs, called varicose veins, usually thought of as producing only cosmetic effects. They take on blue or purple hues and may form skin bulges. These veins can do produce symptoms other than physical appearance, and, in rare cases, they can lead to a more serious condition.

If you’re concerned about any aspect of your varicose veins, MD Vein & Skin Specialists are your best choice for information and treatment. Dr. Clement Banda specializes in varicose and all other vein issues. Book a consultation if you have or suspect a vein problem that concerns you.

Causes behind varicose veins

Veins are the blood vessels through which blood passes on its way back to the heart. In the case of your feet and legs, this journey is against the downward pull of gravity when you’re upright. To help keep blood moving in the right direction, veins have internal valves that open in one direction, preventing backwards flow.

Veins become varicose as these valves start to fail. Blood pools and presses against vein walls, causing the characteristic bulging, twisted, and discolored appearance. Varicosity often starts as you get older and vein walls become weaker.

If you spend extended periods sitting or standing for a job or hobby, this could contribute to the onset of the condition. Other factors include genetic, trauma, obesity and prior blood clots called DVT. It’s sometimes also a side effect of pregnancy, though there’s a good chance these veins will get better in the months after you give birth.

When varicose veins become symptomatic

When symptoms move beyond cosmetic considerations, you’ll feel discomfort or pain. Your legs could feel heavy or tired even early in the day and seem achy in general without a direct point of discomfort. Most intense discomfort typically includes throbbing or burning sensations in your lower legs. This could be accompanied by swelling and muscle cramps. Night time cramping and restlessness of legs called restless leg syndrome are common symptoms of vein disease associated with varicose veins. Varicose vein disease causes a type of leg ulcers typically below the knees and mostly around the ankles called venous ulcers. These can be difficult to get rid of indeed. 

You could feel localized itchiness around individual varicose veins and skin surrounding veins may become discolored. Discomfort and pain could be worse after you’ve been sitting or standing in one position for an extended time.

Potential complications

Home care, including exercise, compression stockings, and time with your legs elevated can both ease the pain of varicose veins as well as slow the advancement. However, these efforts aren’t always successful, and they won’t improve the appearance of veins already affected.

Left untreated, varicose veins could start breaking through the skin and bleeding, though usually not a great deal. However, ulcers could begin to form. These typically start near the ankles, and your first clue may be skin discoloration in the location before the ulcer forms.

Additionally deeper veins not visible to the naked eye are often enlarged and varicose and typically so prior to one noticing the surface veins. These can lead to persistent leg pain and swelling. 

Any of these complications require medical attention for investigation and treatment. Contact MD Vein & Skin Specialists by phone or online to arrange your examination and consultation. Dr. Banda can help you regardless of the progression of your varicose veins, so book your appointment today.

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