In the United States alone, over 40 million people suffer from varicose veins. However, less than 10 percent actually seek treatment for painful symptoms. This is because many people often associate leg pain to just a sign of aging or arthritis instead of vein disease.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are caused when the valves in your veins do not function properly. This allows blood to pool, instead of being circulated from your legs back to your heart. These visible signs of vein disease may be accompanied by smaller, surface veins known as spider veins. Even if you don’t have visible signs of vein disease, you may experience painful symptoms that can impede on daily life. It’s important to understand that these visible, as well as non-visible symptoms, are both signs of underlying vein disease.
What do varicose veins look like?
As blood accumulates due to malfunctioning valves, the veins may become swollen and twisted. They may not be raised in the beginning; however, over time they can become more prominent. Varicose veins can develop into enlarged, rope-like, or bulging vessels that travel up and down different parts of your legs. Although they can develop anywhere on the body, varicose veins most commonly develop on the thighs, calves, or ankles. These veins may also appear discolored, which can turn into a slow or non-healing wound also known as a venous ulcer.
Do varicose veins hurt?
The short answer is: yes, they can. Everyone’s individual experience is unique; therefore, some people may not feel any discomfort, while others may struggle with chronic pain. On the surface, varicose veins may be tender to the touch or the pain may be felt deeper within the leg. Before treatment, patients reported that they often felt a deep aching or severe heaviness that made walking or exercising difficult.
- Other vein symptoms may include:
- Leg pain or cramping
- Heaviness or fatigue
- Swelling of the ankles or calves
- An aching or throbbing sensation
- Tingling or numbness
- Burning or itching
- Restlessness felt especially at night
- Skin discoloration or dryness
- Slow or non-healing wounds
- Difficulty standing or walking for long periods of time
Take our symptom quiz to find out if your pain could be caused by vein disease.
This pain may range from mild to severe depending on how far your vein disease condition has progressed. If left untreated, your symptoms may worsen and become less bearable. Varicose veins can also cause pain if they turn into a venous ulcer. Venous ulcers are caused when the constant high pressure of unregulated blood flow causes skin to become damaged and fragile. Vein treatment can help prevent venous ulcers from reoccurring after they heal.
What causes varicose veins to be painful?
There are many factors that contribute to varicose veins becoming painful. Inflammation plays a major role in swelling and discomfort. During the warmer months, higher temperatures may dilate blood vessels causing more strain. An increased amount of blood pooling also contributes to leg pain. Many people find that elevating one’s legs or using compression stockings may temporarily help relieve leg pain and swelling; however, these are not effective solutions.
Until you can fix the root of your pain, your symptoms may continue to get worse. Treating underlying venous insufficiency can help reroute blood flow to healthy veins, in order to improve overall leg circulation.
Treating varicose veins
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) effectively treats venous insufficiency by targeting the diseased veins with laser energy. EVLT helps improve circulation, so you can get back to living a healthier, more active life.
At USA Vein Clinics, our patients are provided with the expertise, compassion, and commitment to the care they deserve. If you are experiencing leg pain or other symptoms, reach out to our team today to learn more about our treatment options, doctors, and locations.