The Secret (and Not So Secret) Symptoms of Leg Vein Problems

By April 25, 2016Latest News

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is the term used to describe the situation whereby the body’s veins are unable to efficiently return blood to the heart. This problem is often manifested in the venous network of the legs because of the effects of gravity and the comparatively long distance blood has to travel from the feet to the heart. There are a number of reasons why CVI occurs, but the most common culprits are blood clots (for example, deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) and damaged or missing valves. Obesity, lack of activity and inherited gene mutations are among the risk factors for developing CVI. Damaged veins close to the skin often become visibly twisted and swollen due to the pooling of blood, and these are then termed varicose veins.

Are you suffering from venous insufficiency in the legs?

How can you tell if you are suffering from venous insufficiency in the legs? Is there any Symptoms of Leg Vein Problems? There are several tell-tale signs, some more obvious than others.


Pain and Tenderness

One of the common symptoms of venous problems in the lower extremities is leg pain. This pain can range from an uncomfortable tenderness, through aching and throbbing, right up to very painful leg cramps. Of course, pain in the legs can be associated with a range of circulatory and non-circulatory conditions: for example trapped nerves, pulled muscles, shin splints, ligament damage and even referred pain from back problems. However, one common characteristic of venous problems in the legs is the tendency for the pain to be worse when standing, which gets worse as the days goes by, and for it to ease when the legs are elevated.


Swelling (Edema)

Swelling of the affected leg or legs is a symptom of CVI. This is because the backing-up of blood, whether caused by damaged or missing valves or thrombosis (blood clotting), increases blood pressure in the veins of the legs, ankles and feet. Edema may affect both legs equally or, more commonly, it may affect one leg more than the other. In fact, asymmetrical edema is one of the hallmarks that can sometimes distinguish between CVI and edema caused by fluid retention associated with other systemic conditions like heart failure and renal insufficiency.


Obvious Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency

Some symptoms of CVI are prominent and can be readily recognized – even by those without a medical background. Most people are familiar with the unsightly appearance of varicose veins, those blue, swollen and twisted veins, which are usually seen in the lower extremities. It is the pooling (termed ‘stasis’ in medical jargon) of deoxygenated blood, whether because of damaged or missing valves or blood clots, which distends the veins and makes them more blue than normal veins. This causes yet more damage to valves further back along the venous system, which means that varicose veins tend to get worse over time unless treated or removed. Thus, they are self-perpetuating.


Another obvious symptom of venous problems might be the development of a leg ulcer- a nasty open, shallow wound which tends to form in the lower leg, around the gaiter region. Venous leg ulcers tend to be larger but less painful than arterial leg ulcers. When an ulcer has formed, the venous disease is said to have reached stage six of the classification of chronic venous insufficiency. This is the worst stage.

Secret Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency

It is possible for a person to be suffering from venous problems without experiencing pain or swelling or displaying varicose veins or any other obvious external signs. Nevertheless, there is usually some indication that all is not well with the legs. Some of the more subtle symptoms to watch out for include feelings of heaviness, itchiness and/or weakness in one or both legs and night cramps and leg discomfort. Any thickening or discoloration of the skin above the ankle region could also be a warning sign that all is not well beneath the surface. Interestingly, almost all people that we have treated and thought they had no symptoms, reported a significant improvements in their legs feeling lighter, less achy at the end of the day, and having more stamina. Finally, reticular and spider veins may be the tip of the iceberg.

If you have concerns about possible venous insufficiency, we recommend you book an appointment with one of our specialists. We can check your symptoms and advise which treatments may be appropriate in your case. You can contact us on (228) 875-0885 or visit



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