Varicose veins are conditions where bulging, swollen, and enlarged veins usually occur in the legs and feet. They are usually blue or greenish and appear lumpy and twisted especially in standing position. They usually appear on different aspects of the legs and ankles due to incompetency in one or more of hundreds of one-way valves inside the veins with the reflux intensified by the increased pressure caused by subjecting the veins to the gravity in standing or even during sitting.
After blood is pumped from the heart through arteries, it nourishes the body’s tissue and muscles. For the venous blood, to easily return to the right side of the heart, veins in the legs must fight against gravity relying one about 200 one-way valves. Veins have valves to direct the blood flow in one direction. Weak or damaged valves lead to blood pulling in veins and stretching the elastic vein walls leading in zigzag varicose veins and one or more of the associated symptoms of varicose veins.
Symptoms of varicose veins
Varicose veins have cosmetic implications, while you might also experience some symptoms in severe cases. Alongside the visual signs described above, there may be additional symptoms like
- Aches or heaviness in the legs
- Swollen feet or ankles
- Burning or throbbing pain in your lower leg
- Increased pain after prolonged sitting or standing
- Muscle cramps in your lower leg
- Itchiness in the area around the varicose veins
- Thin, dry, and discolored skin around the varicose veins and enlarging ulcers in lower parts of calves and ankles
Treatment of varicose veins
- In mild cases, you can use interventions like exercise, and frequent leg elevations to reduce the severity of varicose veins.
- In mild cases, you can get compression stockings to temporarily relieve pain and associated symptoms,
For the more serious cases, medical intervention may be necessary, but after a thorough evaluation by ultrasound to look for sources of reflux. This ultrasound study must only be done when the patient is in standing position. Procedures likely to be used in any Vein Specialty Medical Clinic in Campbell & Vein Clinic San Jose are:
- Endovenous laser ablation- Laser energy & heat is used to seal the affected great and small and accessory and perforating incompetent veins
- Sclerotherapy-use of foam or solutions to seal off affected secondary smaller superficial veins. This procedure scars and closes the affected veins without leaving scars on the skin
- Ambulatory phlebectomy- removal of small varicose veins through tiny punctures in the skin. It has minimum scarring.
- High ligation and stripping- Involves tying off an affected vein before it joins a deeper vein. The tied-off vein is then removed through small incisions. Circulation in the leg is not affected by this procedure. This method is practiced much less often since newer treatment produce great results without the need to general anesthesia