Individuals with varicose veins may have other related problems in the feet or legs. Some patients who undergo the Venefit procedure at Valley Vein Center also receive therapies to improve their overall vascular health. Learn more about eight common foot/leg conditions closely associated with varicose veins and venous reflux disease.
#1 Ankle Sores (Venous Stasis Ulcer)
In normal healthy legs, valves in the veins keep blood moving forward, allowing blood to flow in just one direction: back to the heart. In diseased leg veins, these valves may not function properly, allowing blood to pool in the legs. This increase in pressure in the legs can lead to the development of a venous stasis ulcer. These ulcers are typically irregularly shaped, discoloring the surrounding skin. They may feel warm and hot or cause nearby skin to be tight and shiny in appearance. Treatment is possible. However, you should inform your physician as soon as you notice any ulcers or sores so that you can get the most effective treatment.
#2 Darkened Skin on Legs
Skin may darken in spots on the legs for a number of reasons: sun exposure, bruising, or some other form of injury or inflammation. In some cases, hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) is caused by varicose veins. If left untreated, the tissue could become firm and permanently inflamed, which can be quite painful. (See #7 below.)
#3 Edema (Swollen Ankles)
Edema occurs when fluids accumulate in the ankles, feet, and legs. Edema may be caused by venous reflux disease or chronic venous insufficiency. It is commonly linked to varicose veins and other vascular health problems. Extended periods of time off your feet (such as a plane ride or bed rest) can worsen the problem. This condition may be an early indicator of a vascular health problem. Talk to your doctor if you notice swelling in your ankles.
#4 Itchy, Red Rash on Legs
Also known as “venous stasis dermatitis,” this itchy red rash – which may appear as a red dot or cluster of dots – indicates a vascular health problem. Though a rash may not seem too threatening, you should still talk to your physician as soon as possible if you notice this condition, as venous stasis ulcers could develop.
#5 Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
If your legs frequently ache and cramp up, causing you to feel a frequent urge to move your legs, you may suffer from restless legs syndrome. This condition can make falling asleep and sleeping especially difficult. People with RLS may have damaged or diseased veins in the legs, including varicose veins.
#6 Spider Veins in Ankles
Spider veins are tiny clusters of veins that give the skin a bruised, discolored appearance. It may be difficult to distinguish one vein from another when looking at a cluster of spider veins in the ankles. While spider veins are close to the skin’s surface, varicose veins are deeper, larger veins in the leg that have bulged out. Both conditions can be a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency.
#7 Smooth & Tight Skin
Clinically known as “lipodermatosclerosis,” this tight and hardened skin – which often feels smooth on the surface – can be an indicator of serious vein disease. This condition may follow hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin). If you develop smooth or tight skin on the legs that causes pain, let your physician know.
#8 Klippel-Trénaunay Syndrome (KTS)
KTS is an exception to this list, as it is not common, but actually a very rare genetic condition associated with varicose veins. KTS is characterized by painful swelling in one or both legs. Swelling and discoloration worsens as varicose veins become filled with blood. KTS swelling is typically accompanied by what’s clinically known as a “port-wine stain” – red- or purple-colored skin. Varicose vein therapies like Venefit may help patients with KTS.