- Leg pain, aching or cramping
- Burning or itching of skin
- Leg or ankle swelling
- “Heavy” feeling in legs
- Skin discoloration or texture changes above inner ankle
- Restless legs
- Open wounds or sores above inner ankle
|Varicose veins are rope-like blue vessels under the skin, usually ¼ inch or larger in diameter. They are most often branches from the saphenous trunk veins, and have enlarged due to the excess pressure in the saphenous system. Varicose veins are unsightly and often painful. A clotted varicose vein causes a condition called phlebitis, in which the skin overlying the site of the clot becomes hot, red and painful.Varicose veins are not always a serious or uncomfortable condition – for some people, small discolored vessels or minor swelling may be the only signs – but for millions of sufferers they can cause symptoms severe enough to significantly impact the quality of life. Throbbing pain, a deep ache or heavy feeling in the legs, muscle cramps, fatigue, “restless” legs, burning or itching skin, and severe swelling of the ankles can all be symptoms of venous reflux disease, the major underlying cause of varicose veins.|
|Leg Swelling (Edema)|
|When symptoms like these are present, they frequently curtail the patient’s activities and can even force them to miss work. Sufferers complain of being unable to walk, stand or sit for very long without feeling pain or exhaustion.|
|Beyond the purely cosmetic concerns about spider veins and the pain, fatigue and discomfort that result from varicose veins, venous reflux is a progressive disease that can lead to other, more significant circulatory problems as it worsens. Swelling of the leg is a further sign that damaged or diseased vein valves are not functioning properly. Since the blood cannot be effectively returned to the heart, it pools in the leg resulting in higher than normal pressure (venous hypertension), and causes the leg to swell. This swelling is called edema.|
|In addition, when blood flow out of the legs through superficial and perforating veins is inadequate, this higher-than-normal pressure can result in damage to the skin. Progression of venous reflux can lead to changes in the skin’s color (hyperpigmentation) as well as changes in skin texture.
The most severe stage of venous reflux disease is when the inadequate blood flow results in an ulcer, commonly near the ankle. In fact, damaged or diseased perforating veins are the source of venous reflux in nearly two-thirds of venous ulcer patients.1 These ulcers are raw and painful wounds which may not always be healed using only antibiotics or salves. Avena Vascular offers the most progressive approaches in treating patients with advanced symptoms of venous reflux, including venous leg ulcers.
In severe cases, varicose veins can be indicators of serious circulatory problems, producing blood clots, bleeding or skin ulcers that require immediate medical attention.
1 Shafritz, Randy. Combining Bilayered Living Cell Therapy with Minimally Invasive Vein Surgery: Current Treatment Strategies for Venous Ulcers; Supplement to VDM March/April 2007