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Why Do Varicose Veins Cause Leg Swelling?

Varicose veins can cause leg swelling

A patient in our Leesburg office recently asked why varicose veins caused her legs to swell. The answer: venous blood in legs normally moves from bottom to top, or from the foot to the thigh and then up towards the heart. Of course, the force of gravity is pushing downward, again the vein flow, but leg veins have one-way valves that enable them to push the blood up the leg against gravity.

When varicose veins appear, it's often because these one-way vein valves are not functioning normally. The valves are not able to resist the constant push of gravity downward, and backflow occurs. As the backflow persists, venous blood settles in the lower leg.

Leg swelling, one of the common symptoms of varicose veins, can occur as the result of this elevated pressure in the veins, and the swelling tends to be most prominent after you've been standing for a long period of time. When you are sleeping, or resting with your leg elevated, gravity is no longer a force to be resisted, and swelling is reduced. However, once you stand again, swelling recurs.

Fortunately, veins that develop backflow are very easily treated with Venefit (formerly VNUS Closure). This office-based procedure is performed under local anesthesia with immediate recovery and return to normal activity. Once the problem vein is addressed, vein flow returns to normal, and swelling can be eliminated quite successfully.

If you have varicose veins, or symptoms of leg pain, heaviness or restless legs, consider evaluation at Capitol Vein & Laser in Leesburg (www.mycvl.com). Dr. Rosenberg is a fellowship trained vascular surgeon who has spent many years serving as educational faculty educating other physicians on advances in vein care. He is happy to provide free evaluations or full consultations.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

rachel shackleford November 28, 2012 at 01:36 AM
I used to get a lot of pain and swelling associated with my varicose veins. It became a big problem, so I started researching different treatment options. I received my treatment from USA Vein Clinics. My veins are finally gone and I could not be more happier my experience with them. I would definitely check them out!
Jennifer Parker December 05, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I have heard of Leesburg vein clinic, but like Rachel I also received treatment at the usa vein clinic. I went to the clinic in Brooklyn, NY. I don't know why anyone would choose getting varicose vein surgery over a laser procedure where it is fast and painless. Plus some studies show that getting a laser procedure done you are less likely to have your varicose veins re occur.
Garth Rosenberg, MD December 05, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Jennifer, you are absolutely correct that the endovenous procedures, done either with radiofrequency and laser, are preferable to surgery for varicose veins. Both techniques are fast, effective and durable allowing immediate return to normal activity.

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