Can My Leg Pain and Swelling Be From Varicose Veins That I Can’t See?

It’s estimated that up to 40 percent of women and 25 percent of men suffer from varicose veins. However, many of those tens of millions of people have no clue that they have the condition! This is because varicose veins are not always visible and can Legs free from pain and swelling from varicose veins.remain hidden deep within the leg, causing symptoms such as pain and swelling.

To better understand these deeply buried varicose veins, we’ll look at:

  • The cause of varicose vein symptoms
  • Leg pain from varicose veins
  • Leg swelling from varicose veins

Keep in mind that varicose veins are a chronic condition that will get worse over time. At-home remedies that alleviate symptoms do exist. However, the best course of action is to prevent your varicose veins from progressing any further. Contact East Tennessee Vein Clinic to learn how you can heal your symptoms once and for all!

The Cause of Varicose Vein Symptoms

Whatever symptoms you experience, all varicose vein symptoms are caused by the same thing — your veins’ failure to pump blood up to your heart. The veins in your legs contain one-way valves that recirculate blood back to your heart. However, these valves may become weakened over time, which can result in them malfunctioning.

When these valves malfunction, blood is no longer sent back to the heart. This causes blood to collect in your leg veins, which increases blood pressure and the presence of toxins within the vein. The end result is varicose vein symptoms, including the telltale thick, ropey veins swelling up against your skin.

But dark, swollen veins aren’t always a symptom of varicose veins. In fact, varicose veins can be buried deep inside your leg and invisible to the naked eye. These “invisible” varicose veins are the source of symptoms like:

  • Swelling of the leg
  • Heavy, aching legs
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS) 

These symptoms and their severity can vary from person to person. This means that the amount of pain or swelling you experience can be different from what someone else experiences. The important thing to remember is that varicose veins are chronic and progressive. The symptoms will only grow over time and you may even develop new ones. 

That’s why seeking treatment early is so important. Vein specialists like Dr. Douglass won’t simply stop the symptoms you’re already experiencing — they will actually prevent symptoms from getting worse and new ones from developing.

Leg Pain from Varicose Veins

Leg pain is one of the most common and early symptoms of varicose veins. Leg pain resulting from varicose veins gets progressively worse throughout the day and, since varicose veins are chronic and progressive, may only get worse over time.

Leg pain caused by varicose veins exists on a spectrum and can present itself in a number of ways. Some people describe it as a heaviness or cramping while others feel pain throbbing from deep within their leg. Others may experience leg pain so severe that it can impede their ability to enjoy life the way they used to.

Untreated varicose veins can lead to other painful conditions, as well. Phlebitis is a painful condition resulting from inflammation and the formation of blood clots. Along with leg pain, you may also experience:

  • Your legs feeling hot
  • Hardening of the skin on your affected leg
  • Discoloration of the skin on your affected leg

Another painful condition is dermatitis — an itchy, inflamed rash on your skin. Most conditions caused by varicose veins are experienced in the leg. However, dermatitis caused by varicose veins tends to appear on your ankle or lower leg. Dermatitis can result in painful sores that are easily irritated or scratched and prone to infection.

Like other symptoms and conditions of varicose veins, phlebitis and dermatitis result in more than pain and discomfort. They can affect your desire or ability to go about activities you once enjoyed. Dermatitis, in particular, can make you feel embarrassed about your appearance and less likely to wear clothing you once enjoyed.

That’s why our team here at East Tennessee Vein Clinic recommends seeking treatment as soon as possible. By getting treatment early, you’ll avoid symptoms becoming more severe and gaining new ones. On top of that, you’ll get back to living the life you love in no time!

Leg Swelling from Varicose Veins

Like leg pain, leg swelling from varicose veins is the result of increased blood pressure and toxins in the vein. The increase of pressure and toxins causes the vein to become inflamed, resulting in chronic swelling of the leg. Also, like leg pain, leg swelling tends to become worse as the day progresses, making it difficult to enjoy your life once you’ve left work.

While certainly more visible than leg pain, swollen legs can still lack the dark, swollen veins often associated with varicose veins. Visible varicose veins are easier to spot since they are shallow and located just below the skin. Varicose veins that cause swollen legs are located deeper within the leg, making them harder to diagnose with the naked eye.

There are multiple treatments for leg swelling due to varicose veins that you can do yourself. Just keep in mind that these at-home treatments will only alleviate the swelling for a short period of time. Vein specialists are specially equipped to verify that you have varicose veins and treat them properly. 

Compression Stockings

Compression stockings aid in reducing swelling as well as leg pain. Pressure from the stockings stimulates circulation in your leg and helps reduce pooling blood. They work best when put on in the morning before your leg has a chance to swell up as the day goes on.

Elevating Your Legs

Elevating your legs is best done after a long day sitting or standing. The trick here is to keep your affected leg above your heart for 10 to 20 minutes on pillows or any elevated surface. This boosts your circulatory system and helps the trapped blood in your leg flow back to your heart.

Exercise and Weight Management

Exercise does more than make your clothes fit better. By maintaining a healthy weight, you’re also removing excess pressure from your legs that can agitate your varicose vein. Engaging in physical activity also helps by stimulating blood circulation in your legs and pumping blood back to your heart.

Final Words

All varicose vein symptoms are the result of blood not being pumped from the leg back to the heart. However, some symptoms are caused by varicose veins buried deep inside the leg that aren’t visible with the naked eye. While at-home treatments may help alleviate symptoms, consulting a vein specialist will ensure that you receive the correct diagnosis as well effective treatment for your condition.


Contact us at East Tennessee Vein Clinic to get help for your varicose veins. We treat varicose veins differently by eliminating the entire network of failed veins, not just large visibly bulging veins. You can contact us online, or call us at 865.686.0507 or toll-free at 866.281.VEIN. 

“Your staff is very helpful and always I felt “well cared for.” I don’t see much way that you could improve the care and services. Thanks for your good service!”

- D. B., Maryville, TN