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Primary Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency

Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency is nothing new. Because we frequently can see our veins beneath our skin, they have been a matter of study for thousands of years. Several investigations on leg veins date back to one thousand and five hundred fifty B.C.

Early writings and sculptures focus on varicose vein abnormalities, which frequently accompany chronic venous insufficiency.

In the sixties, proper treatments for vascular problems began to emerge. As technology developed, ultrasounds, lasers, and foam sclerotherapy became some preferred methods for treating venous diseases.

About half of the population of the United States of America has some degree of venous insufficiency, but it most commonly affects individuals over fifty. In addition, because pregnancy affects blood flow to the legs, chronic venous insufficiency is more prevalent in the female population.

Venous insufficiency is a medical condition that disrupts the way blood flows in your body. When your veins function correctly, they carry blood from all your organs to your heart. Little valves inside these veins keep the blood flowing in the right direction.

Venous insufficiency happens when these valves do not function correctly. As a result, blood may leak backward, away from the heart, causing blood to accumulate in the legs. This condition may affect the deep veins that help push blood toward the heart or the superficial veins that locate closer to the skin surface in the legs.

Some individuals with venous insufficiency also have deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Deep vein thrombosis occurs whenever a blood clot builds up in a vein deep inside your body.

Venous Insufficiency Risk Factors

There is no direct cause of venous insufficiency, but multiple factors may increase the likelihood of this condition.

As mentioned, this condition is more typical in individuals over fifty, affecting more women than men, and sometimes it happens for unknown reasons. Nevertheless, you may be at increased risk for venous insufficiency if:

  • You have experienced significant weight loss or weight gain; for example, women who have had multiple pregnancies are at increased risk for venous insufficiency because they have gained and lost weight several times.
  • You have hereditary factors.
  • You have a family background of venous insufficiency or varicose veins.
  • You have lifestyle concerns, such as being sedentary, overweight, and you smoke.
  • You have a job that requires sitting or standing up for long periods.
  • You have previous damage to one of your legs due to injury, blood clots, or surgery, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • You are very tall.
  • You are overaged, the normal aging process.

Venous insufficiency is less likely in physically active individuals, as physical activity and good calf muscle development may stimulate blood flow.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Primary Symptoms And Signs Of Venous Insufficiency

Even though many people may think that venous insufficiency comes with varicose veins, that is not always true. Some patients experience enlarged varicose veins, but it is not a consistent symptom of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). CVI and fatigue are a more typical match.

Instead, watch for swelling in the calves and ankles, scaly and itchy skin, leg cramps, and cramping. You may also report restless leg syndrome, burning, heaviness, and tiredness. In addition, watch the skin for signs of stasis ulcers and any changes in appearance, mainly if it seems like leather.

At Modern Heart and Vascular, we care about finding venous insufficiency as early as possible so we may help you prevent complications. Armed with a list of warning signs or primary symptoms, you will know how to detect the problem.

The gravity of symptoms varies widely depending on the progression of the ailment. Talk to your physician if you have only a couple of the above signs. Your veins will not strengthen on their own and will continue to weaken with time and age.

As mentioned before, the primary and most frequent symptom of venous insufficiency is:

  • The swelling in the legs and ankles after standing for a while.

Although swollen ankles and feet are typical and usually not a cause for concern, especially if you have been standing up or walking a lot, it is frequently one of the primary symptoms of venous insufficiency.

Adding to the above mentioned, feet and ankles that remain swollen or accompanied by other symptoms and signs could indicate a severe health problem. For example, swelling of the ankles and feet is often an early symptom of venous insufficiency, a condition in which blood improperly travels up the veins from the legs and feet to the heart.


Commonly, veins cause blood to flow upward with one-way valves. Whenever these valves become weakened or damaged, blood leaks out of the vessels, and the soft tissue of the lower legs retains the fluid, especially in the ankles and feet. Chronic venous insufficiency may lead to skin changes, ulcers, wounds, and infections.

If you are suffering or experiencing signs or symptoms of venous insufficiency, you should consult your primary healthcare provider or a vein expert.

With early intervention, you can prevent ruptured capillaries that change the color of your skin and troublesome ulcers. 

More significant symptoms and early signs of venous insufficiency include:

  • Tiredness, pain, tightness, or legs with a burning sensation generally worsening as the day progresses.
  • Discomfort and heaviness when walking that goes away when resting or putting your legs up.
  • Leg pain or fatigue worsens when you stand still for a prolonged time and then feels better when you elevate your leg.
  • Restless legs.
  • You experience scaly, itchy skin on your feet, ankles, or legs.
  • Visible varicose veins, even though many individuals with varicose veins do not suffer from venous insufficiency. Even if your varicose veins do not cause any symptoms, they are a sign that you have venous hypertension and chronic venous insufficiency.

In addition, your risk of deep vein thrombosis is three times higher compared to individuals who do not have varicose veins.

  • Discoloration of skin on lower legs and ankles; Brown or leathery patches of skin that usually appear near the ankles.
  • Ulcers or open sores on the lower legs and ankles

Lack of physical activity and prolonged standing or sitting may also lead to venous insufficiency, which creates more pressure.

Therapy or treatment is most effective when it begins in the early stages of venous insufficiency. If you are suffering or experiencing one or more of the above signs or symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your primary healthcare provider or seek a vascular surgeon.

Venous Insufficiency Prevention

If you are at high risk for venous insufficiency, obese, a smoker, or over fifty, take some of the following precautions to prevent CVI.

  • Stop smoking
  • Lose any extra weight
  • Eat healthily and exercise regularly
  • Try not to sit down or stand for prolonged periods.
  • Adjust your workspace to relieve any pressure on your legs.
  • Try wearing shoes with extra support.

While none of these measures will guarantee that you will not have venous insufficiency, they all will add to a healthy lifestyle for you with low blood pressure, which reduces the risk of suffering it.

Venous Insufficiency Progression

Early signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency include spider veins and varicose veins. In addition, the disease causes excessive swelling in the calf and ankle area, frequently resulting in discoloration near the feet.

If left untreated, the skin may change to look and feel like leather. The final stage is the formation of open sores on the skin that are difficult to treat.

It is best to talk to a physician as soon as you see a spider or varicose vein to manage the pressure before it worsens.

Appointments Available

In conclusion, venous insufficiency does not go away by itself; without treatment, this condition may lead to severe complications. For example, if swelling of the legs and ankles becomes severe, you may develop chronic ulcers and wounds.

Awareness of the symptoms of venous insufficiency is vital. With early intervention from your healthcare provider, you may get medical attention and have a diagnosis.

If you are looking for vein surgery or vein removal options, or if you are worried about deep vein thrombosis or any other venous condition, the team of vein experts at Modern Heart and Vascular practice can tailor a personalized treatment plan for you.

With a personalized treatment plan, you can tackle any discomfort you are experiencing, which may help you feel and look your best.

At Modern Heart and Vascular, we are committed to placing our patients first and providing all the answers to your questions about heart and vascular conditions.

The purpose of this article is to provide a basic description of venous insufficiency and its primary symptoms; however, it should not take the place of speaking with your healthcare provider or a vein expert. If you present any of the mentioned symptoms or know someone who does, contact us at any of the Modern Heart and Vascular clinics.

Our preventive cardiology and vascular clinics are all around Houston, with locations in The Woodlands, Humble, Katy, Cleveland, and Livingston. We are accepting most major insurance companies, including Medicare. Some appointments are available.

We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice. For more information, contact us.

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Modern Heart and Vascular, a preventive cardiology medical practice, has several offices around Houston. We have locations in Humble, Cleveland, The Woodlands, Katy, and Livingston.

We are Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, a diagnostic and preventative medicine cardiology practice.

Every heart has a story… What’s yours?

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At the Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, we offer state-of-the-art cardiovascular care with innovative diagnostic tools and compassionate patient care. Our priority at Modern Heart and Vascular Institute is prevention. We help patients lead healthier lives by avoiding unnecessary procedures and surgeries.

Contact us online to learn more and book an appointment. If you’d like to learn more about our practice, read our providers’ bios.

This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.

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