Blood flows up through veins in your legs towards your heart. Within the veins are one-way doors known as valves. After blood flows past a valve, the valve closes, preventing the blood from falling back down towards your feet. When these valves aren’t working the way they should blood leaks down past them and this can cause a whole host of issues. From swollen legs to discomfort, leg veins that don’t work properly can be downright painful. This condition is known as venous insufficiency, and it can even lead to the development of ulcers if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to understand the basics of venous insufficiency and to speak to an expert vein doctor. Here are some key factors to consider:
Causes and Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency:
Sometimes venous insufficiency happens after you experience an injury, a blood clot in the veins of your legs or after a surgical procedure, but people can develop venous disease naturally without any major event. Working at a job that requires sitting or standing for a long time without moving can increase your chances of experiencing venous insufficiency. Here are a few common signs or symptoms of the condition you should know:
- Leg Cramping: Also known as “Charley horse”, leg cramps often occur randomly and can be a sign of venous insufficiency. Leg cramps are the result of one or more of your leg muscles contracting. This condition commonly impacts the calf muscles and can be painful lasting anywhere from a few minutes to as much as 24 hours. You’re more prone to receiving leg cramps if your dehydrated or taking certain medications.
- Restless leg: This is a condition that causes an urge to move your leg. It can also cause that “pins and needles” feeling you may experience in your legs.
- Swelling: When you retain fluid in your legs or ankles, it can lead to swelling. You may experience this swelling in your ankles or legs. This condition is referred to as edema, and it can be a sign of venous insufficiency.
- Burning: It’s not uncommon to experience burning when you have venous insufficiency. Burning sensations are typically experienced in the legs, especially if you have varicose veins.
- Itching: Itching is a typical symptom that occurs when you have venous insufficiency and can happen on varicose veins or the leg itself.
- Varicose veins: Varicose veins are typically the result of weakened blood valves or loss of elasticity and can appear knotted and bumpy. These veins can be itchy and become enlarged once you lose elasticity and facilitate the collection of blood in the legs. This contributes to a heavy feeling in the leg.
- Spider veins: These small visible veins twist and turn like varicose veins but are smaller. You can see spider veins on the surface of the legs.
- Leg heaviness: Many people experience heaviness and fatigue in their legs that worsens throughout the day or in the heat. This may be a symptom of venous insufficiency and it’s important to receive a proper evaluation.
How a Vein Doctor Can Help You
While you may be able to spot symptoms of venous insufficiency, such as burning, itching or leg cramping, an expert vein doctor can help provide you with a proper diagnosis of your condition. So, it’s vital to receive an evaluation from a vein specialist. Here are some additional reasons you should be evaluated by a vein doctor:
- Complete evaluation. Your vein doctor will provide you with a full evaluation, using tools, such as a duplex ultrasound to check how well your blood is flowing in your legs. You can also expect your doctor to look at the veins in your leg while you are standing or sitting. This helps them to know if you have varicose veins and spider veins.
- Treatment. Your vein doctor will also suggest a customized treatment plan for you. For instance, you can expect your vein doctor to discuss your treatment options and the efficacy of each treatment based on your condition. Since treatment can be based on how severe your condition is, your age, your medication tolerance level and the symptoms you personally experience, it’s important to discuss your treatment options with your physician.
- Lifestyle Plan. Part of preventing or controlling venous insufficiency requires changes in your lifestyle. You can expect your vein doctor to discuss these lifestyle changes. Some lifestyle changes and treatments for venous insufficiency include adding more movement to your daily activities or medical therapies, such as sclerotherapy or Radiofrequency Ablation or RFA. For example, when your vein doctor performs sclerotherapy, he injects sclerosant into your vein. Sclerosant helps to completely eliminate it. RFA also works to treat and eliminate varicose veins. This minimally invasive procedure uses heat-based energy to damage and close a vein.
Determining whether or not you have venous insufficiency isn’t something you need to do on your own. You can take advantage of a professional team of vein doctors to get the job done correctly from the start when you use a reliable team of vein experts, such as the vein doctors at the Vein Treatment Center. From New York to New Jersey, you can leverage the expertise of vein doctors, such as Dr. Namrata Khimani, Dr. Caroline Novak, Dr. Juan Montoya, Dr. Michael Nguyen and Dr. Faisal Siddiqi. You can also take advantage of a high-quality team of board-certified doctors who have quality training from top U.S. medical schools and expertise in areas, such as venous medicine and interventional pain management.