Capitol Vein Blog

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Varicose Veins Can Cause Leg Itching and Sores

While most varicose veins cause localized aching, pain and heaviness in the leg, there are patients who have very advanced skin problems directly related to the veins. I saw a gentleman today who had a 10-year history of varicose veins. He underwent removal of several of the skin level veins a few years ago at another medical office.
He’s noted that over the last two years, the ankle and foot have become more and more discolored with rather significant itching on a daily basis. He has seen a dermatologist and a family doctor for the itching and sores, and was told to use a skin cream, but no comment was made about his varicose veins!
Venous disease is classified from 1 to 6, with 6 being the most severe. When skin changes (such as those in the photo to the left), the patient has an advanced stage 4 situation, and much of the discoloration is irreversible, though we can interrupt the progression to a more advanced stage.
In our accredited vascular lab, we did a thorough evaluation of the leg veins and found very severe reflux in the saphenous vein, the feeder vein that leads to most varicose veins. The backpressure in the thigh and calf veins was directly transmitted to the ankle and foot skin, causing the severe changes we noted. These skin changes often cause very bothersome itching that is rarely improved with lotions or creams. Since varicose veins are the cause, treatment of the venous reflux is beneficial. Untreated, patients such as this progress to skin sores and ulcers.
We strongly encourage patients with skin discoloration and associated varicose veins to seek attention so that the source of the high pressure in the veins can be eliminated and circulation returned to normal. Options such as VNUS Closure and microphlebectomy are suitable techniques to ensure a successful outcome.


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