Are you suffering from sore, swollen, and achy legs? Venous insufficiency — a condition that affects up to 40% of American adults — could be the cause. This troublesome health issue can also increase your risk of developing hard-to-heal venous skin ulcers.
At Hamptons Vein & Vascular, our highly skilled providers are committed to helping people in Rutherford and Westfield, New Jersey, find relief from the symptoms of both venous insufficiency and venous ulcers.
To help you better understand the link between ulcers and venous insufficiency, we’ve put together this informative guide. Read on to learn more.
What is venous insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is a condition that develops when the valves in the veins in your legs become weak. Your veins have an important job: bringing blood all over your body and then sending it back to your heart once it’s been delivered.
To keep the blood moving toward your heart, your veins have one-way valves. If the valves stop working normally, the veins in your legs can start to let blood flow the wrong way. This causes blood to pool in your leg.
Venous insufficiency can develop from weakening of the valves due to advanced age or after a blood clot forms (usually from sitting for long periods or because of immobility). It’s also linked to being overweight or obese, smoking, a history of varicose veins, multiple pregnancies, and a family history of venous insufficiency.
Symptoms of venous insufficiency
Symptoms of venous insufficiency include:
- Swelling in your lower legs and ankles
- Painful, aching legs
- Varicose veins
- Changes in skin color and texture
- Itchy skin on your lower legs
- Ulcers or open sore
If you suspect you might have venous insufficiency, don’t ignore your symptoms or expect that they’ll go away. The longer you wait for treatment, the more severe your condition may become.
What is the link between venous insufficiency and ulcers?
Ulcers are open sores on your skin. Venous ulcers form when your veins don’t function normally and create problems with the blood flow in your legs. Because venous insufficiency leads to poor circulation, it’s one of the top causes of venous skin ulcers.
The first signs you may have a venous ulcer usually involve changes in your skin near the area where blood leaks from the vein. These include changes in color (usually turning dark red or purple) as well as thickening, dry, or itchy skin.
If left untreated, this area may turn into a painful ulcer and cause swelling and aching in your legs. Ulcers are at higher risk of becoming infected, leading to tenderness, redness, and pus.
If you have any of the signs of a venous skin ulcer, call us immediately. Early treatment could prevent an ulcer from forming or prevent an ulcer from getting worse and stop any infection from setting in.
Is there treatment for venous insufficiency?
If you’re diagnosed with venous insufficiency, different treatment options are available. Treatments range from compression stockings to removing blood clots and varicose veins through sclerotherapy or radiofrequency ablation.
Our providers evaluate your unique symptoms and overall health before making a customized treatment recommendation to best treat you.
If you suspect you have venous insufficiency or a venous skin ulcer, early treatment is essential. Contact the Hamptons Vein & Vascular office nearest you and schedule an appointment today.