Varicose veins typically cause symptoms of aching, heaviness, throbbing and generalized discomfort in the leg due to the elevated pressure from back flow in the veins. Patients notice symptoms exacerbated later in the day, and even when going to bed at night may develop restless legs. Varicosities develop because the small one-way valves in the veins that propel the venous blood up the leg become defective. The downward push of gravity creates pressure leading to the swollen veins at the surface of the leg, but the origin of this downward push is usually internal veins that feed the surface veins.
We encourage patients to ease the discomfort of varicose veins by maintaining a good level of activity, elevating the legs when possible, and using medical grade support hose. Steady contraction of calf muscles, done by toe raises or walking, helps propel blood up the leg and encourage good circulation. Leg elevation reduces the push of gravity and allows the veins to temporarily shrink, easing the symptoms. The support hose also effectively reduce the pressure in the veins and promote normal venous blood flow up the leg.
Ultimately, correction of the underlying reflux (backflow) in the veins is the best treatment to permanently eliminate the symptoms of varicose veins. Individualized treatment is enabled by the use of high quality venous ultrasound that shows the vein valve abnormalities in great detail. Endovenous ablation (VNUS Closure) is often used to treat internal veins that cause the painful surface veins, while phlebectomy or sclerotherapy eliminates the visible varicose veins.
It is important that you understand the qualifications and experience of the physician you select to treat your veins. Vascular surgeons have extensive training in both arteries and veins and have the judgement to provide you with the best options for a successful result.