It’s a common problem but doctors say if varicose veins start to cause you pain, it’s time to see your physician.
Dr. Ronnie Word, a vascular surgeon with Lee Health, says patients may notice them on their legs or feet. “Varicose veins basically are part of a bigger spectrum from a disease called venous insufficiency.”
Varicose veins are large dilated veins in the legs. Patients can range between 15 and 90 years old. “Some people develop advanced venous insufficiency, where they end up with color skin changes in the lower leg, even ulcers, which are called venous ulcers,” said Dr. Word.
In some cases, varicose veins have no symptoms and are merely a cosmetic concern. Other times, varicose veins can be painful, even cause swelling in the ankles and feet after standing. “Usually, the symptoms of venous insufficiency include throbbing in the veins; you can have achiness in the leg, heaviness. The most common complaint is people come in and say at the end of the day my leg feels like lead,” said Dr. Word.
Varicose veins are often genetic, but patients can develop them if they stand or sit for too long. “Anybody who has varicose veins and they are concerned about them, or spider veins, they should come and see us,” said Dr. Word.
If left untreated, varicose veins can get worse leading to pain and skin changes. “If you have any of the symptoms compression stockings will help. They will not cure you though. They will only relieve the symptoms,” said Dr. Word.
Doctors may also use outpatient procedures, like laser therapy, to close the diseased veins. “This removes the vein that you can see, but more importantly you need to resolve the problem that causes varicose veins,” said Dr. Word.
Being active and making sure you’re not standing or sitting for too long can help minimize varicose veins.