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Vascular Care

Varicose Veins and Chronic Venous Insufficiency

If you suffer from swelling in your legs or ankles, pain when walking that stops when you rest, varicose veins, painful leg cramps, muscle spasms or leg ulcers, you may have chronic venous insufficiency.

While not usually a serious health issue, the symptoms can be debilitating and unsightly.

What causes chronic venous insufficiency?

The valves in your veins work to keep blood flowing back toward your heart. When the valves stop working, blood pools in your legs, causing pain, swelling and resulting in varicose veins.

Factors that contribute to chronic venous insufficiency include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Phlebitis (swelling and inflammation in a vein close to the skin)
  • Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in your calf or thigh)

If you are overweight, pregnant, have had previous blood clots or a family history of vein issues, you are more at risk for chronic venous insufficiency.

woman rubbing sore legs

How is chronic venous insufficiency diagnosed and treated?

Your primary care doctor or a vascular specialist will look at your medical history, perform an exam and schedule a test to check the blood flow, blood flow speed and vein structure in your legs.

With that information, your doctor or a vascular specialist can diagnosis your level of chronic venous insufficiency and develop your treatment plan.

Depending on your age and the severity of your condition, your treatment may include:

  • Elevating your legs
  • Compression stockings
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medicines
  • Sclerotherapy (treatment for spider and small varicose veins)
  • Radiofrequency ablation (which heats and closes a vein)
  • Surgery (ligation and stripping of affected veins)

What happens next?

If your condition is mild, compression socks and medicines may be recommended. More serious cases may require sclerotherapy, ablation or surgery.

Ask questions and follow your physician’s treatment plan. That way, you’ll know what to expect and how long your treatment and recovery will take.

How serious are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins. They can be a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency or the result of genetics, standing for hours at a time, being overweight, being physically inactive, having a previous leg injury or even being pregnant.

While not generally considered a serious health problem, varicose veins can be unsightly and many women find them to be embarrassing.

If you need help for varicose veins, Tanner has vascular and general surgeons on staff who can provide a noticeable and lasting solution.

Varicose Veins: Is Surgical Treatment Right for You? - Jon Stanford, MD

Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue. When veins of the lower extremity fail to work properly, excessive blood and pressure accumulate in the legs, leading to aching, burning, itching and restless legs. According to Dr. Stanford, a general surgeon with Carollton Surgical Group, treatment today usually involves minimally-invasive in-office procedures such as radio frequency ablation, phlebectomy and sclerotherapy that can be completed in one day. Watch the video to learn more.

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Swollen legs and ankles?

Call to make an appointment with a vascular specialist at Tanner.

varicose veins

Varicose veins?

Call for a referral to a varicose vein surgery specialist on Tanner's medical staff.

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