Varicose veins are large, swollen veins that often appear on the legs and feet. They happen when the valves in the veins do not work properly, so the blood does not flow effectively.
The veins rarely need treatment for health reasons, but if swelling, aching, and painful legs result, and if there is considerable discomfort, treatment is available.
In the majority of cases, there is no pain, but signs and symptoms of varicose veins may include:
veins look twisted, swollen, and lumpy (bulging)
the veins are blue or dark purple
Some patients may also experience:
legs feel heavy, especially after exercise or at night
a minor injury to the affected area may result in longer bleeding than normal
lipodermatosclerosis - fat under the skin just above the ankle can become hard, resulting in the skin shrinking
telangiectasia in the affected leg (spider veins)
there may be a shiny skin discoloration near the varicose veins, usually brownish or blue in color
venous eczema (stasis dermatitis) - skin in the affected area is red, dry, and itchy
when suddenly standing up, some individuals experience leg cramps
a high percentage of people with varicose veins also have restless legs syndrome
atrophie blanche - irregular whitish patches that look like scars appear at the ankles
The veins have one-way valves so that the blood can travel in only one direction. If the walls of the vein become stretched and less flexible (elastic), the valves may get weaker. A weakened valve can allow blood to leak backward and eventually flow in the opposite direction. When this occurs, blood can accumulate in the vein(s), which then become enlarged and swollen.
Your doctor will likely examine your legs and visible veins while you’re sitting or standing to diagnose varicose veins. They may ask you about any pain or symptoms you’re having.
Your doctor may also want to do an ultrasound to check your blood flow. This is a noninvasive test that uses high-frequency sound waves. It allows your doctor to see how blood is flowing in your veins.
Depending on the location, a venogram may be done to further assess your veins. During this test, your doctor injects a special dye into your legs and takes X-rays of the area. The dye appears on the X-rays, giving your doctor a better view of how your blood is flowing.
Tests such as ultrasounds or venograms help ensure that another disorder like a blood clot or a blockage isn’t causing the pain and swelling in your legs.
In general, doctors are conservative when treating varicose veins. You’ll probably be advised to make changes to your lifestyle, instead of trying more aggressive treatments.
The following changes may help prevent varicose veins from forming or becoming worse:
Avoid standing for extended periods of time.
Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise to improve your circulation.
Use compression socks or stockings.
If you already have varicose veins, you should take these steps to prevent new varicose veins. You should also elevate your legs whenever you’re resting or sleeping.
Your doctor may advise you to wear special compression socks or stockings. These place enough pressure on your legs so that blood can flow more easily to your heart. They also decrease swelling.
The level of compression varies, but most types of compression stockings are available in drugstores or medical supply stores.
If lifestyle changes aren’t working, or if your varicose veins are causing a lot of pain or damaging your overall health, your doctor might try a minimal invasive procedure.
At Panacea clinic we perform a minimal invasive procedure for Varicose veins call the EVLA or Endo Venous Laser Ablation for varicose veins. Its a day care office procedure and the patient can go home on the same da of the surgery and can even start walking immedietly after the anaesthesia wears off. There are no surgical wounds or stitches involved in this procedure and is done under ultrasound guidance.The patient has to continue wearing specialised stockings for about 3 months after the surgery.
Varicose veins normally get worse over time. This is true even if you make the necessary lifestyle changes to control them and manage your pain. While they may be unsightly, they usually don’t cause any long-term medical problems.
In some cases, varicose veins can lead to ulcers or sores on your legs, blood clots, or chronic inflammation. If you have a severe case, your veins could rupture.
You should see your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms. They may then suggest taking a more aggressive approach, such as surgery or other interventions.