Complications Of Varicose Veins: Heavy, Aching Legs
According to the National Institutes of Health, 50% of people over the age of 50 have varicose veins to some degree. For some, twisted, blueish enlarged varicose veins are visible on the surface of the legs, but for many there are no visible physical signs of varicose veins.
Regardless of whether the varicose veins are visible or not, symptoms vary widely. It’s important to realize that the severity of varicose veins doesn’t necessarily correlate to the severity of symptoms someone might experience. Some people with very large varicose veins may experience little or no symptoms, while others who have minimal venous disease have extreme symptoms.
One of the more common symptoms of varicose veins is an aching heaviness in the legs, as if the legs are weighted down. The heavy, aching feeling typically worsens as the day goes on and after long periods of standing or sitting. This uncomfortable symptom can affect one’s quality of life by limiting the desire or ability to do certain activities.
The heavy, aching symptoms are caused by the structure of varicose veins. These diseased veins become enlarged or swollen when the one-way valves in the veins are too weak to circulate blood back to the heart. The weakened valves allow blood to flow backwards and pool within the vein. Over time, the pooled blood causes the vein to swell and the increased venous pressure creates inflammation within the vein. As pressure and toxins build up, it’s not surprising that the legs feel heavy and ache.
Often time, people with heavy, aching legs will often experience other symptoms, like swelling or throbbing. All varicose vein symptoms can be quite pronounced, even if the enlarged veins aren’t visible on the surface of the skin. In fact, those ropey, bluish varicose veins that are visible on the legs are usually just the tip of the iceberg.
Elevating the legs above heart-level for periods of time can help ease the heavy, aching symptoms, as can wearing compression stockings. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following additional symptoms:
- Sudden swelling
- Veins that are warm or sore to the touch
- Bleeding of the veins
- Skin discoloration or hardening on your leg or ankle
- Sores or a rash near your ankle
These symptoms may indicate more serious venous issues that may require immediate attention. However, you should schedule a consultation to have your veins evaluated if any of the more typical symptoms such as heaviness and aching, swelling, or restlessness are affecting your comfort in any way.
Varicose veins are a progressive and chronic condition, so it’s wise to seek advice before symptoms take a toll on your health or quality of life.
Dr. Douglass and the staff at East Tennessee Vein Clinic are solely dedicated to the treatment of varicose veins, and lead the region in experience and expertise of vein treatments. We treat veins differently than other clinics because of our comprehensive attention to treating the root cause and full extent of each patient’s vein disease. Vein treatment is all we do, every day, all day, since 2001.
Plus, East Tennessee Vein Clinic is offering free screenings for varicose veins through October.