Varicose veins are those unsightly, gnarled blue and red veins that typically appear on the legs and feet. These veins develop when blood pools in the veins of the lower legs due to inability of the venous blood to return back to the heart. This abnormal process is due to impairment of the function of the multiple valves that exist in the leg veins.
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are usually smaller and closer to the surface of the skin. These veins tend to form a network that looks like tree branches or spider webs. Like varicose veins, spider veins can also be caused by blood pooling within the veins.
There are many possible reasons for leg swelling and these reasons vary considerably in terms of their severity and treatment options.
Leg pain can come on suddenly or gradually, and be constant or intermittent. In most cases, treating the cause of the leg pain will alleviate the discomfort and possibly address a more severe problem.
Pregnancy-Related Vein Problems
Women are at particular risk of varicose veins during pregnancy. Increased blood flow and an expanding uterus put additional pressure on the veins of the legs during this time. Additional progesterone production causes the walls of the blood vessels to relax.
Vein Engorgements in Athletes
Vein engorgements are a common problem in athletes and could indicate a much more serious problem. Superficial veins in the lower legs and arms often become engorged when the limb is injured or overused; often long after the original injury has taken place.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that can result when blood cannot flow freely through the veins of the legs and back to the heart. Instead, the blood pools in the lower veins; a process known as stasis.
Deep Venous Thrombosis
Deep venous thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot develops in one of the deep veins of the body, typically in the legs. This clots forms as a result of blood flow slowing in the affected vein, which can happen with an injury, obesity, recent surgery or pregnancy. Sometimes a deep venous thrombosis develops for no known reason at all or as a result of a genetic predisposition.
Leg Ulcers, Venous Stasis Ulcer
Leg ulcers are open sores that can appear on the ankle, between the toes or on the underside of the foot. They can be very painful and infection within the wound is a common concern.
Venous dermatitis is a skin inflammation that is most common in patients over the age of 50. It is caused by poor blood circulation in the legs, and risk factors that increase your odds of developing this condition include obesity, inactivity and varicose veins.