Sometimes the cause of your leg pain can be unclear. Most often, the pain & discomfort may be due to varicose veins, DVT, or venous insufficiency.
Most often, the pain in your legs is due to varicose veins. This common health condition is due to the tiny valves in the veins, which weaken and lose elasticity over time. They can no longer pump the blood back to the heart, which causes the veins to become engorged with blood and pool up. Varicose veins are easily diagnosed due to their appearance in the legs and ankles. They will appear as large, twisting and bulging veins with a dark bluish or purple coloring.
Painful signs of varicose veins include:
- Aching or heaviness in the legs
- Any burning or throbbing pain
- Muscle cramps or swelling in the lower portions of your legs
- Pain becoming more intense from extended sitting or standing
- Itching and scaly skin around a vein
- Skin ulcers or sores around the ankles
If you suffer from skin ulcerations, you should seek a vein specialist, who will be able to diagnose whether you have a more serious form of vascular disease.
Another common vein problem that is more unsightly than painful, are spider veins. They will have the same appearance as varicose veins, just on a much smaller scale. These veins can appear on other parts of the body too, such as your face.
Venous Insufficiency or chronic venous insufficiency is again just the valves being damaged or missing in the veins, just as in varicose veins. Chronic venous insufficiency is characterized by lasting more than three months, and it occurs when a vein is partially blocked or blood may be leaking around the valves of the veins.
There are several factors for chronic venous insufficiency, which include:
- Standing or sitting for long periods
A vein specialist should be consulted for chronic venous insufficiency. Some of the symptoms include:
- Discoloration of the skin around the ankles
- Thickening and hardening of the skin on the legs and ankles (lipodermatosclerosis).
- Ulcers or sores on the legs or ankles
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the vein, which mainly occurs in the large veins in the legs. It is capable of causing pain in your leg veins and considered a very serious health risk. Your healthcare provider should be consulted immediately if you suspect you have this condition. If the blood clot breaks loose, it can cause an embolism (blockage) in the heart, lungs or brain, causing severe damage and even death. Symptoms can include:
- Redness with leg pain
- Skin that is warm to the touch
There are several methods of dealing with this condition. Blood clotting medication and/or injection of clot-busting medications work very well. Some patients do develop long-term pain and swelling called post-phlebitic syndrome.
Thrombophlebitis, also known as phlebitis (inflammation of the vein) defines where the blood clot is located. Deep venous thrombosis is found in the deeper, larger veins, and superficial thrombophlebitis, affects the veins closer to the skin surface.
Your vein specialist can easily diagnose the conditions based on how the affected veins appear. They also have many options and methods to improve the pain in your veins. Patients with painful or embarrassing varicose veins are encouraged to visit a doctor who is a vein specialist.