Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Introduction to Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Your arteries are pipes inside your body that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body and your veins carry blood back to your heart from the rest of your body. Veins have one-way valves that prevent the blood from flowing backward, to ensure they reach your heart properly.
When your vein walls and valves are damaged, the veins cannot manage blood flow as well as they should and it is harder for blood in your legs to return to your heart. This causes a pool of blood in your legs and increases the pressure on the walls of the veins; this is known as chronic venous insufficiency.
Chronic venous insufficiency is most commonly caused by blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and varicose veins. In some cases, weakened leg muscles have trouble squeezing blood upwards and can contribute to venous insufficiency.
Other risk factors include obesity, pregnancy, sitting or standing for long periods of time without moving, and family history of venous insufficiency.
What are the symptoms of venous insufficiency
- Swelling of the leg and ankle
- Itchiness of the legs
- Aching, throbbing, or heaviness of the legs
- Leg ulcers
- Pain that gets worse when you’re standing and gets better when you raise your legs (worse at night when sleeping)
- Skin changes especially around the ankle
How to treat venous insufficiency
Without treatment, the pressure and swelling will burst the tiny blood vessels in your legs called capillaries. This can result in skin changes such as reddish brown discolouration especially near the ankles which can lead to swelling and ulcers. The below are some ways to treat and improve venous insufficiency at home:
- Wear compression stockings to help with your blood flow return and relieve symptoms
- Lifestyle changed such as exercise and diet to improve your blood flow
- Stop smoking to improve your blood flow
- Calf muscle movement while sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Maintain good skin care by moisturising daily
- Elevating calves when laying down or sitting down
- Calf raises to activate the muscle pump that helps the blood flow up to the heart
The above measures may not be sufficient in treating your condition, and seeking medical advise from your Doctor is the best way to treat and look after your venous insufficiency. It is also advisable to speak to your Podiatrist about your concerns.
The Foot Force Podiatry
Send us an e-mail: