Varicose veins are a common problem that affect around 25 million people in the United States. While dark, ropey veins are the most obvious sign, other signs can be less obvious and more difficult to diagnose. What’s more, the symptoms caused by varicose veins can have a major impact on your quality of life. Symptoms can become so severe that you can’t participate in activities you once enjoyed.
Some surprising symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Chronic swelling
- Sore and aching legs
- Burning and itching
- Skin ulcers
We’ll also look at what causes varicose veins as well as treatment at Evansville Surgical Associates. By understanding these surprising symptoms of varicose veins, you can be more prepared and motivated to seek treatment.
1. Chronic Swelling
Chronic swelling is one of the most common symptoms of varicose veins. This swelling usually progresses throughout the day and is at its worst when you get home. Swelling can be especially difficult for women since it can get worse during the menstrual cycle. Swelling can become so severe that it can impede your ability to perform regular daily activities.
2. Sore and Aching Legs
Sore and aching legs often coincide with chronic swelling. Like swelling, pain in the legs tends to get worse throughout the day, making sitting down your number one goal when you get home. This pain can exist on a spectrum that ranges from what some describe as heaviness and cramping, to a throbbing feeling that seems to come from deep within the leg.
Discoloration of the skin can be caused by a number of problems. However, when it comes to varicose veins, discoloration is the result of the veins in your legs not functioning properly. Along with discoloration, varicose veins can cause the skin on your legs to become hard, scaly, and thickened if left untreated.
4. Burning and Itching
Burning and itchiness can be one of the most uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins. Also known as venous stasis dermatitis, this is the result of the veins failing to work properly and blood leaking into the skin. Over time, sores can form that leak and develop scabs. The itchiness and burning can become more intense over time and require treatment.
5. Skin Ulcers
When left untreated, varicose veins can result in skin ulcers. These are usually preceded by discoloration and the skin becoming thinner around the lower leg and ankle. The result is unsightly skin ulcers that can also be painful. Not only that, but they’re also prone to infection. Healing skin ulcers from varicose veins can take years, so it’s best to seek treatment early.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are the result of veins in the lower leg not working properly. When healthy, veins in the lower leg help fight the forces of gravity using one-way valves that help pump blood back up to the heart. Unfortunately, these valves can sometimes stop working. This results in blood pooling in the lower leg, which leads to skin inflammation and other varicose vein symptoms.
Skin inflammation is the result of increased pressure within the vein that causes the veins to grow larger. These enlarged veins don’t always become the dark, bulging veins that are usually associated with varicose veins. However, the increased pressure combined with the accumulation of blood and toxins within the leg can still result in the symptoms we just covered.
Varicose veins can develop anywhere in the body, but they’re most commonly found in the lower leg. Their symptoms are both chronic and progressive. This means that your varicose vein symptoms can last for a long period of time and will only get worse with time.
There are steps you can take to alleviate your symptoms, such as sitting down if you stand a lot, taking walks if you sit a lot, and raising your legs above your heart at the end of the day. However, the best way to rid yourself of your symptoms is to seek medical treatment from our experienced board of surgeons.
Varicose Vein Treatment in Evansville, Indiana
Varicose vein treatment has come a long way from vein stripping. This process involved surgically removing, or “stripping,” the malfunctioning vein or veins to alleviate symptoms. While vein stripping may still be necessary for severe cases of varicose veins, new minimally-invasive forms of treatment can take around an hour and require little if any downtime.
At Evansville Surgical Associates, our vascular surgeons are board-certified to provide you with the treatment you need to help you live the life that you love. Dr. Patterson and Dr. Martin have made varicose veins an area of special interest. They will be able to guide you through varicose vein treatment and help determine which form will work best for you.
Our surgeons are able to assist you in every stage of treatment, including:
- Preventative care
Surgical treatment for varicose veins is the best way to alleviate your symptoms and prevent them from returning. Once you’ve received treatment, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Varicose vein symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you’re ready to treat your symptoms at the source, email us with any general questions or comments you may have.
Evansville Surgical Associates has been providing comprehensive and compassionate surgical care for over 50 years. Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231. We are available from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm if you would like to schedule an appointment.