Varicose veins can be found in many parts of the body. However, the term when used refers to the most common form of varicose veins in the body, those in the calf and thigh.
Many people experiencing symptoms of varicose veins will not require treatment. Though, treatment may be considered if you experience severe symptoms, or if you suffer from difficulties of varicose veins. In addition, some people seek treatment for varicose veins for cosmetic reasons.
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be painful and may even cause swelling of the ankles. They typically form in the legs and are caused by malfunctioning vein valves, which don’t allow the blood to flow backwards. As a result, superficial veins carrying high-pressure blood from the deeper system become affected. Varicose veins show as the typical ‘blue road map’ pattern of lumpy veins seen showing under the skin.
Typically, people with varicose veins can experience pain, aches, cramping, swelling, itching or skin marks, or a mixture of these. Some factors that can worsen the condition include walking or standing for prolonged periods of time. Pregnancy and genetics can also cause varicose veins. Chronic high pressure in these veins can cause skin changes including thread veins and brown pigmentation (lipodermatosclerosis), and if left untreated, the condition may progress to severe skin changes and ulceration of the leg around the ankle.
Whether you suffer from small or large varicose veins, and regardless of the symptoms they are causing, you may be able to benefit from getting them treated.
Varicose veins may be treated conventionally by your doctor with the use of support stockings, injections or surgery. Doctors open to the use of herbal remedies may also consider recommending Horse Chestnut seed extracts for varicose veins. In addition, don’t forget that there are several ways of helping yourself with changes in diet and lifestyle
All you need to know about varicose vein pain
Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged veins. They are often blue or dark purple and lumpy, bulging, and twisted in appearance. They occur on the legs and feet.
Fast facts on varicose vein pain:
- Some people may experience no symptoms beyond appearance.
- Varicose veins near the skin surface can burst and leak due to physical trauma.
- There are ways to ease the symptoms associated with varicose veins.
Varicose veins Pain
Varicose veins are a common cause of leg pain. People often describe the pain as heaviness or a deep ache. There are changing degrees of pain related with varicose veins, and some people experience severe symptoms.
One condition that can cause pain is known as phlebitis, which occurs when varicose veins become inflamed and form blood clots. Signs that a person may have phlebitis include:
How to get relief from varicose vein pain:
Elevate your legs
For immediate relief from the pain and discomfort associated with varicose veins, elevate your legs above your heart. You can place your feet up on a table, stretch them up a wall, or lie down in bed and rest your legs on three or four pillows. This will help make it easier for blood flow in your lower body to circulate toward the heart, and the venous valves will function more effectively.
Stay with your legs elevated for at least 15 minutes at a time — that should help reduce the swelling and ease the pain.
Exercise and stretch your legs
- Short exercise to stretch your calf muscles a few times a day could also be helpful. Flex your feet frequently, especially during long trips when your leg room is limited.
- If you must sit or stand in your job, change position at least every 30 minutes and bend knees regularly.
- Proper hydration and physical movement support healthy blood circulation, so drink enough water and move around as frequently as possible.
Use cold water
- If your legs are in pain at the end of the day, shower them with cold water. Cool temperatures cause blood vessels to shrink. This should alleviate swelling and the associated feeling of heaviness, as well as overall discomfort and leg cramps.
- Avoid taking hot baths and spending time in hot tubs. Heat has a negative effect on your veins, and the throbbing pain can become even worse if you spend too much time in hot water.
- If a vein bursts, blood can pool around the affected area and pressure and toxins may build up. Sometimes an ulcer may develop, or a person’s skin may tear because of a varicose vein, which can be extremely painful.
What other issues affect varicose vein pain?
Identifying varicose veins, and taking steps to treat them, may help to prevent complications, such as lymphedema.
Varicose veins can also cause problems elsewhere in the body — specifically the lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that help transport and remove waste products and toxins. It plays a major role in immune system function
Effects of lymphedema include:
- Sleeves, rings, bracelets or wristwatches feel too tight
- A feeling of “fullness” in your arm or leg
- Diminished flexibility in the joints of the affected limb
- Greater risk for developing infections
- More difficult for your body to fight infection
Varicose veins can also lead to dermatitis, which is an itchy, inflamed rash. When caused by varicose veins, the rash will often appear on the lower leg or ankle.
Dermatitis can cause bleeding, skin ulcers, or sores that can be painful and become infected if scratched or irritated.
The rashes range from mild to severe and can cause the following skin conditions, depending on their cause:
- Painful ulcers
Varicose veins can also lead to inflammation and the formation of a clot in the vein. Often this clot will be close to the surface of the skin in a condition known as superficial thrombophlebitis.
This can cause pain and lead to other problems in the affected area.
Superficial thrombophlebitis signs and symptoms include:
- Warmth, tenderness and pain in the affected area
- Redness and swelling
Deep vein thrombosis signs and symptoms include: