Venous insufficiency a very common condition, resulting from decreased return of blood from the leg veins up to the heart and pooling of blood in the veins. Normally, stop valves in the vein close to keep blood from flowing downward with gravity. When the valves in the vein become weak and don’t close properly, they allow blood to flow backward, or reflux. Varicose veins are prominent veins that have lost their valve effectiveness and, as a result, become elongated, rope-like, bulged and thickened. The most common underlying cause of varicose veins is reflux within the greater saphenous vein in the thigh, which leads to pooling in the visible varicose veins below.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Symptoms caused by venous insufficiency and varicose veins include aching leg pain, easy leg fatigue, and leg heaviness, all of which worsen as the day progresses. Many people find they need to sit down in the afternoon and elevate their legs to relieve these symptoms. In more severe cases, venous insufficiency and reflux can cause skin discoloration and ulceration. One percent of adults over age 60 have chronic ulceration. People without visible varicose veins can still have symptoms. Symptoms can arise from spider veins as well as from varicose veins, because, in both cases, the symptoms are caused by pressure on nerves by dilated veins.