Varicose veins are a relatively common problem for both men and women, particularly after the age of 50. Despite their prevalence, this vein condition is often misunderstood. If you are uncertain whether those visible veins are really varicose veins, there are a few signs and symptoms to watch for.
Visible Signs of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins usually become visible on the lower leg. They may appear as dark blue or purple lines snaking up the leg, or flesh-colored ropes that protrude above the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are often mistaken for spider veins, which are networks of red or blue veins that resemble a starburst or a spider’s web. Spider veins often have different causes and treatment for these smaller, superficial veins can differ somewhat from varicose vein treatment as well.
Physical Symptoms of Varicose Veins
For some, varicose veins left untreated can lead to uncomfortable physical symptoms, including:
•Achiness or heaviness in the legs after activity or at night
•Worsening discomfort after prolonged periods of sitting or standing
•Swelling of the lower leg, ankle or foot
•Burning or muscle cramping in the leg, especially at night
•Skin irritation or itchiness around the affected vein
•Changes to the skin’s color or texture
In some cases, varicose vein symptoms may be alleviated by elevating the legs at the end of the day or taking over-the-counter pain relievers. However, those symptoms also indicate the underlying vein condition that led to the varicose veins may be worsening. If the problem is not addressed with appropriate medical treatment, more serious complications can arise.
Potential Complications of Varicose Veins
Skin changes that sometimes occur with varicose veins, such as discoloration and thickening of the skin, can become permanent for some people, even if the veins are eventually treated. The skin changes can also lead to the formation of open sores around the lower leg and ankle, known as venous ulcers. These sores can become quite large and challenging to treat. Infection and recurrence rates are high, often requiring months of intense treatment to finally eliminate the sores completely.
The good news is that you can eliminate uncomfortable symptoms and your risk for complications with minimally-invasive vein treatments. At Advanced Vein & Vascular Center, we offer a variety of vein treatments that allow us to customize the procedure to the unique needs of each individual patient. Most of our procedures involve little or no discomfort and patients are often back to their daily routines as soon as treatment is complete. To learn more about varicose veins or their treatment, contact Advanced Vein & Vascular Center at 610-200-6924.