Constant pain in the legs, ankles, and feet can cause your quality of life to slip off the edge and leave you feeling awful. Painful leg symptoms can vary from case to case, but symptoms are often due to a vascular condition. If you experience swelling, discoloration in your legs, and pain that never seems to end, you don’t have to keep suffering. Find out more about the many different sources of leg pain and how you can find relief from Heart of Dixie Vein and Vascular Center. Stop suffering from leg pain and restore your quality of life!
Leg pain can come from many sources. Heart of Dixie deals with some of the most debilitating symptoms of venous insufficiency, such as varicose veins and spider veins. In this article, we can help you find answers about the vein conditions that may be affecting you.
Pain often starts as slight aching, throbbing, or heaviness in the legs. You may ignore it and treat it well enough with pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, the pain in your leg may get worse and even become visible, which is the case with varicose veins and spider veins. At that point, we recommend talking with a medical professional about treatment options. Varicose veins can be a sign of underlying venous insufficiency. If left untreated, it can progress to skin damage, swelling, infection, clotting, and even ulcerating wounds.
Finding relief from pain and finding a solution for a longer life often go hand-in-hand, and treating problems associated with venous insufficiency is no different.
This is the real question: why do my legs hurt? Everyone experiences and reacts to pain in different ways. But one thing is certain: you don’t have to endure your pain forever. In almost all cases, there are ways of limiting and even eliminating the pain in your legs, ankles, and feet.
Follow this handy guide to learn how you can solve the pain and discomfort of varicose veins. Our staff at Heart of Dixie Vein and Vascular Center can help you improve the image and health of your legs, ankles, and feet.
This article will cover the basics of leg pain and answer specific questions about the pain caused by issues with the vascular system:
Leg pain comes from many different sources. Your leg pain could be coming from the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, vascular system conditions, and even autoimmune disorders or inflammation. Leg pain, swelling, and cramps may be signs of more serious conditions that Heart of Dixie can help you solve.
Venous insufficiency occurs when the superficial venous system is damaged, and blood pools rather than quickly returning to the heart. The old or damaged veins have tiny valves that ensure blood flows correctly. But with varicose veins, blood pools and becomes very apparent just beneath the skin. You might suffer from inflammation, rashes, and endless itching because of varicose veins.
At first glance, varicose veins appear to be a superficial and cosmetic issue that can be solved by a simple surgical procedure. While this is true, varicose veins are also a sign that there’s a deeper problem within your veins. The pain and complications that may arise even from treated varicose veins are enough for investigation.
Varicose veins are often ignored if you’re unconcerned with the appearance of your legs. But when pain, inflammation, skin changes, or swelling begin to take place, you may consider taking advantage of Heart of Dixie’s services to help improve your situation. A damaged surface vein can sometimes reveal a deeper problem.
If you’re experiencing a sudden new onset of swelling in one leg, pain, tenderness, and cramps, your leg pain could be the effect of a blood clot. These blood clots form in deep veins, causing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a very serious problem that should be dealt with immediately.
When you visit Heart of Dixie, we can give you a great set of options to help reduce the pain in your legs. However, there are simple things you can do at home to ease your pain before you find a more permanent and lasting treatment. We recommend daily use of compression stockings, increasing your activity level, elevating your legs to heart level, and following a low sodium diet.
At Heart of Dixie, we offer a selection of different treatment options for your consideration. Depending on your situation, some of the procedures we can perform may work better than others. From VenaSeal to radiofrequency ablation, discover how we can help you with minimally invasive treatments.
Even if your varicose vein has been expertly treated, it may return when another vein becomes damaged. The pain of varicose veins may continue as additional instances make themselves known. But with lifestyle adjustments such as staying active and wearing compression stockings, you can aid your body in maintaining a healthy circulatory system.
Very little can affect your quality of life like constant leg pain. Leg cramps can stop you dead in your tracks. Leg swelling can cause itching and make it impossible to be comfortable in any position, seated or standing.
A few additional conditions that can affect the health of your legs include:
Most of these conditions may be exacerbated by swelling and extra fluid in your feet and legs due to poor circulation.
Though anyone of any age can experience pain in their lower extremities, age plays a huge role in how the health of our legs changes. With enough time, the constant wear and tear on our legs become more than our bodies can handle. The knee joints and ligaments can tear through use or injury, and some leg pain can come from injuries to the lower spine. And, as we will cover in detail, blood vessels and veins can narrow and break down, causing irregular circulation and decreasing the speed of return of blood from the legs back to the heart.
The single condition we want to cover here is the pain, swelling, and cramping that comes with the condition of venous insufficiency and the symptoms that occur when left untreated.
The issue lies in the veins themselves: the tiny valves that control the flow of blood become injured and worn down, allowing blood to flow irregularly and pool in the legs. This is known as venous insufficiency. One of the more obvious signs that this is occurring is the appearance of varicose veins.
Varicose veins can affect the lower body in several ways beyond simple cosmetic problems. A few of these include:
Don’t slow down and stop enjoying the things that make life wonderful. The pain and danger that come from varicose veins and venous insufficiency can be treated by the doctors and staff at Heart of Dixie.
You can find true solutions and relief from varicose vein pain by consulting with the doctors and staff at Heart of Dixie Vein and Vascular Center. The tools we use to solve the cosmetic appearance and discoloration of varicose veins are only the beginning of how we can help.
For solutions to pain, discoloration, and other serious symptoms, we use non-invasive treatments that are proven to be just as effective in removing or treating varicose veins and reducing leg pain. At Heart of Dixie, we use radiofrequency ablation, VenaSeal, and other techniques to seal off the painful and malfunctioning veins.
To view painful veins clearly, we use ultrasound before and during your procedure to determine which veins are the root of your symptoms. Radiofrequency ablation is a technique that uses gentle heat to collapse the vein, redirecting the blood and allowing it to flow more freely through healthy veins. Another technique we use is a tool called VenaSeal. This state-of-the-art tool utilizes a small amount of surgical adhesive to seal the vein in a non-invasive and more pain-free experience.
When you visit the Heart of Dixie Center, we will present you with all the options and help you solve discoloration, swelling, and the constant pain from varicose veins that affect your life. Our friendly doctors have the tools and experience to assist nearly all our patients, no matter their conditions, symptoms, and size of their varicose veins.
Venous insufficiency is a condition when the veins in your legs no longer function the way that they should. Physical attributes of the condition include swelling, skin cracking, and skin discoloration. Furthermore, venous insufficiency can lead to or be a cause of varicose veins.
In the primary stages of varicose veins, you will begin to notice highly visible veins beneath your skin, usually colored blue or purple because of the deoxygenated blood inside them. Slowly, the veins can become misshapen and affect the surface of the skin as well. If not treated, varicose veins can lead to more serious problems such as ulcers forming around the lower leg or ankle. Another consequence of blood pooling in the veins with nowhere to go, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can cause blood clots to form, which can be life-threatening if they flow into the lungs (called pulmonary embolisms).
Not all patients experience complications from varicose veins or venous reflux. However, most patients will find that their symptoms progress as they get older. Venous insufficiency can progress to skin changes, scarring, inflammation, further dilation of veins, and permanent damage to the skin. The swelling and heaviness in your legs can decrease your mobility and make it more difficult for you to exercise. This leads to a decrease in your cardiovascular health if you begin to exercise less often because of the pain and strain it takes to complete the exercises that you used to enjoy.
Our goal is to stop the progression of vein disease so that your legs remain healthy throughout your life. In doing so, you can maintain greater balance and strength as you age, lessening your risk for falls. Our motto here at Heart of Dixie Vein Center is healthy legs, healthy life.
Varicose veins are primarily due to superficial vein valve failure. Our superficial veins have less support and structure to support them compared to our main, deep vein system. The superficial veins are not surrounded by large bundles of muscles that squeeze, contract, and support them. Over time, the thin layers of tissue that support the superficial veins may not be enough to keep the veins tight and strong, and valves may start to fail. Luckily, the more important deep venous system usually does not have this problem, as the deep veins are well supported by our leg muscles.
The main two issues for developing varicose veins are our activity level and our age. Both standing or sitting for long periods can cause veins to expand, which damages the fine vein valves that keep blood pumping smoothly. Age has the same effect as the vein valves break down over time.
Another unfortunate factor of developing varicose veins is obesity. As we grow larger, circulation becomes more difficult for the legs and the body as a whole.
Being a woman also bears an increased likelihood of developing venous insufficiency, as female hormones naturally make veins expand and wear down. Pregnancy increases this effect due to the amount of blood that must circulate to sustain both the mother and the developing child.
Finally, having a family history of varicose veins makes it more likely that someone will develop the same condition.
With the appearance of varicose veins, you may feel burning and pain along the path of the vein. Pressure buildup from the blood inside the vein can create an ulcer, usually on the inner side of the ankle but below the calf. These ulcers are difficult to remove, difficult to heal, and often return despite wound treatment. You will see dark red or purple splotches of rough and hardened skin as well as shallow red rashes with irregular shapes around the dark areas that likely itch and cause considerable pain.
Fortunately, wound care and vein treatment have significantly advanced in the past 20 years. Wound care alone can take months to improve or heal a venous ulcer but combined with vein treatment that we perform here at Heart of Dixie Vein Center, we can significantly increase the healing rate and healing time and decrease the recurrence of ulcerations in our patients’ legs. Appropriate wound care and vascular intervention should often occur simultaneously.
Some preventative measures include:
Varicose veins are often a symptom of a larger problem: the valves in your veins have ceased to function correctly and have allowed blood to pool and enlarge the veins. This can lead to leg swelling, inflammation, skin changes, and varicose veins developing on the surface. The root of the problem is not actually the varicose veins themselves. This pain can increase greatly in warm temperatures. If you live a sedentary lifestyle or remain on your feet all day long, blood is not allowed to flow properly.
The surface veins that you can see are sometimes not the source of pain. You may feel inflammation and aching pain from varicose veins. But the veins that are most affected by pain are the ones that are hidden underneath. These are much more difficult to treat with conventional treatments. If you can see the blue cords of enlarged veins and begin to feel an aching pain that doesn’t seem to go away, it may be a sign of a larger problem.
The longer you allow the blood vessels in your legs to loosen and enlarge, the more you become at risk for greater health issues, such as thrombosis, or blood clots, that form when blood has nowhere else to go.
Contrary to popular belief, sitting with your legs crossed does not lead to the formation of varicose veins. It can, however, exacerbate pain and other existing conditions for both surface and deep varicose veins.
Related to varicose veins, an unsightly condition called spider veins can arise because of venous insufficiency. These veins are named after the thin and random lines or “webs” of veins that are experiencing a small version of insufficiency. Spider veins can appear as red, blue, or purple. They usually exhibit no pain, but they can be embarrassing to display. If they do cause you pain, they may be a sign of a greater problem with the veins deeper inside your legs.
Fortunately, the doctors at Heart of Dixie specialize in helping our patients turn their spider veins into a beautiful set of legs without pain or any considerable downtime. The same treatments we provide to patients with varicose veins can be done to those with very visible spider legs since they both stem from venous insufficiency.
Varicose veins are known for their unpleasant look. Our doctors are ready to treat your varicose veins and assist you in preventing the formation of any others through a change in lifestyle and medications. The symptoms of varicose veins, unfortunately, do not end with the off-putting appearance of red and blue veins on the surface of the skin. In fact, the discoloration may be a sign of more serious problems caused by venous insufficiency and pooling blood in the lower extremities. The symptoms of varicose veins may be uncomfortable and even painful unless they are treated quickly and correctly.
Due to the many risk factors mentioned above, the varicose vein symptoms you experience may be different from what someone else experiences. Accordingly, the chances that some people will develop varicose veins and experience pain and the conditions mentioned below can be predicted and treated. Patients experiencing the following symptoms may have varicose veins or be at increased risk for developing them:
Perhaps the most common symptom of varicose veins is the pain associated with more advanced stages of varicose veins, even without any injuries. At first, you may be concerned with the disconcerting appearance of the vein. But along the vein and further down the leg, you may begin to feel an uncomfortable and dull ache along the surface. Applying any type of pressure against the vein may also cause pain.
Pain in a varicose vein can be caused for a variety of reasons. No matter the cause, come see our doctors, and we can spot the real issue causing your pain.
There are two types of leg cramps you can experience with varicose veins. One is the typical cramp while you are active during the day. This can make it hard to move and even be debilitating while your leg struggles to return to normal. The second type, and often the most disruptive, is night cramps. Even if you remain active during the day, these cramps can disrupt your sleep and keep you up all night long. The solution for leg cramps is to see your doctor and take care of your varicose vein as soon as possible, especially if there is an underlying problem.
In venous insufficiency, blood pools in your legs from being unable to return to the heart. As pressure builds, fluid may leave the vein and lead to fluid retention in your legs and ankles. Swelling can uncomfortably expand your legs, feet, and ankles, creating rough skin and areas vulnerable to infection and sores. Compression stockings are not only good for improved circulation, but they are also a good way to keep fluids flowing smoothly.
Restless legs can feel like the nerves in your legs are all firing at once, making you want to constantly move just to ease the discomfort. This symptom is most difficult for those that have limited mobility simply because of the pain. In some cases, treating varicose veins and the underlying problems can solve this issue.
A constant aching around the area of your varicose veins is awful enough, but it can spread to other parts of your legs, giving you considerable discomfort at all times. Over-the-counter medicines may help the ache for a time, but it always comes back until a true solution is found.
Varicose veins appear unsightly with their colorful webs, but that isn’t all they do to the outer surface of the skin. You will often experience dry skin and flaking, especially around the thicker skin of the ankles and feet. Moisturizers can help ease this symptom, and the doctors at Heart of Dixie can give you better direction about how to bring back your comfortable and healthy skin.
Painful ulcers can arise from varicose veins that are left untreated, especially within the inner side of the ankles and feet. These ulcers also make it difficult to heal from bacterial infections and cause them to reoccur. Having ulcers is a good indicator that it’s time for treatment from the doctors you can trust at Heart of Dixie.
Along with the swelling in your legs and feet, you will feel a heaviness in your legs that can make you uncomfortable and stop you from remaining on your feet. This heaviness can be from fluid building. Again, with compression stockings to aid with the reduction of swelling, the heaviness you feel can be reduced. Proper treatment of the varicose vein, as well as any other complications, can help solve this problem.
Noticeable skin discoloration can be red, blue, and purple. This coloring comes from veins near the surface of the skin. You may also see a brown bronzing or pigmentation developing around your ankles. This is an iron staining that breaks down due to the high pressure of damaged veins. Treatment of the veins with the previously mentioned treatments can reduce the vein, making blood flow through other veins and stopping the progression of these changes.
Discoloration can also occur deep within skin ulcers and other surfaces that have become infected or affected by continual deterioration. Speak with one of our doctors about how you can improve the image of your legs.
An indicator that your varicose vein is more than just a simple cosmetic issue is the burning sensations that occur along the line of the vein. Your skin may feel hotter along the vein, creating a burning sensation that never seems to fade. If this is associated with pain as well, it is time to see one of our doctors about treatment options.
Distinct from the heaviness you may feel in your legs, your legs may tire easily when walking or standing, even for short intervals. Varicose veins can make your legs always feel tired. This is due to the reduced circulation of blood to the muscles in your legs, creating a constant feeling of exhaustion. Wearing compression stockings and keeping activity at a moderate pace can help your circulatory system maintain a healthy flow and ease the tension and tiredness from your muscles.
When the blood in your damaged veins builds, so does the pressure in the vein. To reduce this pressure, the blood may leak into the skin surrounding it. Since blood is not supposed to leave the vein, it irritates the skin. Additionally, when the blood reaches the skin, it may prevent oxygen from reaching your skin the way that it should, causing the skin to become red and itchy. Furthermore, the body will try to repair the varicose vein by sending a hormone called histamine into the vein. This hormone can cause a feeling of itchiness as well.
When your legs are sore, it’s hard to differentiate between when it’s just a nuisance and when it’s a problem that needs professional attention. If your leg pain is intense, continuous, or accompanied by swelling, it’s time to get to a doctor.
Although no one wants to go to the doctor on a false alarm, there are severe repercussions for putting off a genuine problem with your varicose veins. Waiting to treat varicose veins can put you at a greater risk of developing dangerous blood clots, especially deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The CDC states that as many as 2 per every 1000 people will suffer from DVT each year in the United States. If you begin to suspect that you have DVT, it is essential that you get your leg pain checked sooner rather than later.
Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood is stagnant, inflamed, or a blood vessel is injured. A series of proteins can be signaled to form a clot in these situations. Blood clots (DVT) typically build in your lower leg, although they can develop in your arms, stomach, or pelvis as well.
DVT is potentially fatal when blood clots break loose and travel to your lungs. When this occurs, the blood clot can cause pulmonary embolisms. The danger that embolisms pose cannot be overstated. Pulmonary embolisms affect your breathing and cause sudden death in 25% of people who have them.
In addition to the danger of loose blood clots, DVT can also make the discomfort in your legs extremely painful. The pain often begins in your calf or thigh and does not come and go. You may also experience:
As the condition worsens, the affected area may become warmer or more colorful.
While a reliable team of professionals can offer treatments for your varicose vein pain, there are also several ways to relieve your varicose vein leg pain on your own. Many of these activities can be done in the comfort of your own home. Here are the top 10 leg pain relief exercises and tips that can provide you with some much-needed relief.
Elevating your legs takes the pressure off your veins, increases blood flow, and reduces swelling. Raise your legs at least 3 times a day for 15 minutes or longer. Use a cushion for more comfort.
When you exercise regularly, it improves the circulation in your legs. Since the exercise increases circulation, it helps lessen swelling, itching, and heaviness in your legs. Bicycling, leg lifts, and lunges are some of the best leg pain relief exercises.
Regular stretching during the day helps your veins stay in healthy shape by reinforcing correct blood flow. Additionally, stretching prevents blood from pooling, thus alleviating pressure on your skin and reducing varicose vein pain overall.
Compression hosiery is made specifically to prevent blood from pooling, which in turn causes cramps and other discomforts. This footwear inhibits swelling, lessens cramps, and improves your overall leg circulation so that you feel less varicose vein pain.
One of the most well-known of all leg pain relief exercises is walking. Get up and walk around every 30 minutes to get your blood moving. Short walks are good, although the longer you walk, the more you’ll benefit. Aim for a total of 30–45 minutes of walking a day.
While drinking water is an all-around good idea, it may come as a surprise solution for alleviating varicose vein pain. The benefits of drinking water are twofold for your veins: the water thins your blood and strengthens the muscles around your veins.
Showers and baths can help relax your muscles, but cool temperatures cause your blood vessels to shrink. Shrinking your leg vessels can help alleviate leg cramps, swelling, and heaviness. Avoid hot water, as it can make your legs throb.
Nicotine narrows your blood vessels and clogs your arteries with plaque. This forces your heart to work harder to get enough blood to your legs, and it makes your blood vessels stiffen. When you avoid smoking, you save your veins from added pain and lower your risk of blood clots.
A balanced diet provides you with nutrients that enable overall health. Eating foods high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin P all help your veins, particularly in anti-inflammation. Some vein superstars are celery, citrus, garlic, olive oil, and ginger.
When you maintain a healthy weight, you remove extra pressure from your veins, which lessens your varicose vein pain. The more weight you have, the more your veins must work to keep the blood flowing properly. Alternatively, being underweight can also damage your blood vessels due to a lack of calf muscle pump.
While there are a variety of leg pain relief exercises that you can do, varicose veins won’t go away on their own. Fortunately, there is a wide range of treatment options specifically for varicose veins that can improve your life. Since there are so many options available, you’ll want to talk with a doctor about which option would be best for you.
Laser treatments are often coupled with sclerotherapy and compression socks for the best results. An intense ray of light is directed at your skin, targeting the affected area by blocking blood flow to the problematic vein. This treatment typically takes an hour or less and may require a few days of downtime.
VenaSeal is one of Heart of Dixie’s most popular treatments. This treatment is less painful than laser treatment for varicose veins. The vein is accessed through a single needle placed under the help of ultrasound, then the medical adhesive is inserted through the needle. This adhesive seals the varicose vein so that blood is rerouted to healthy veins instead. VenaSeal treatments can be done within an hour, require no recovery, and don’t necessitate wearing compression stockings afterward. Additionally, you’ll see results in a few short weeks.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is another treatment for varicose veins that is minimally invasive. A catheter is placed in the skin, and radiofrequency waves heat the vein closed, so you no longer feel the leg pain. RFA treatments have a 95% success rate and cause faster improvement than laser treatment for varicose veins. This treatment takes around 45–60 minutes and is completed in one sitting. Return to normal activities is often immediate.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (USG) is the most common approach to resolving varicose vein issues. A solution is injected through a needle into the affected vein, causing it to close and reroute the blood to healthier veins. USG is the treatment of choice for many because it is near painless, offers permanent results, and requires no downtime. The treatment takes about 30 minutes but may require 2–3 sessions to achieve the desired results.
Microphlebectomy is a minor procedure often used in conjunction with radiofrequency ablation or VenaSeal. A small nick is made in the skin above the varicose vein, then a tiny hook gently removes the vein through the incision. This procedure takes approximately half an hour to an hour to complete. Recovery time is quick enough that you can get back to your regular activities within a few days of the treatment.
Perforator veins may be the reason behind the circulatory problems in your legs and can be the cause of continuing symptoms even after ablation treatments. In a perforator treatment, a needle is inserted into the perforator vein, where a radiofrequency current will heat the vein until it shrinks completely. This process takes about 20–30 minutes per vein.
If you are dealing with leg pain, you are particularly at risk of developing varicose veins. Don’t despair! There are many things that you can do to lessen your likelihood of having varicose veins. Additionally, if you have had varicose veins in the past, there are still paths you can take to prevent them from ever coming back.
No matter why you have leg pain, there is a way forward. There are experts trained in alleviating the pain that you are suffering from, and they’re willing to help you find the comfort that you’re searching for.
If you’re looking for a way to prevent varicose veins before or after treatment, many of the activities you can do to lessen leg pain are also effective in preventing varicose veins in the first place. Keep your veins healthy and your blood flowing smoothly by exercising routinely, eating foods high in fiber and low in salt, elevating your legs, changing your position from sitting to standing regularly, wearing compression stockings, and staying hydrated.
Unfortunately, varicose veins may return even after they’ve been treated. There are several reasons for this. Perhaps the treatment was not as in-depth as the individual’s condition merited, the condition may be chronic, or certain risk factors such as obesity or pregnancy continue or return. However, there are multiple ways that you can prevent your varicose veins from coming back.
The first and foremost solution for keeping varicose veins at bay post-procedure is to ensure that you choose the right treatment from the beginning. Speak with a doctor about your condition and circumstances to find the best treatment for you.
In addition to the suggestions for preventing varicose veins to begin with, those who have treated their varicose veins before should particularly look into screening, avoid smoking, and lead an active lifestyle. If you maintain a healthy weight, exercise frequently, and keep an eye on your veins, you should be able to keep the upper hand and prevent varicose veins from reoccurring.
Ultimately, many variations of leg pain, including leg cramps and leg swelling, are signs of varicose veins. The ropy blue, purple, or red veins form when blood isn’t flowing correctly. While varicose veins are not inherently harmful to your health, they can burst or even foster an environment for developing blood clots, leading to potentially fatal DVT. Varicose veins quickly become nuisances and inhibitors when they are accompanied by painful leg symptoms, like skin ulcers, burning, swelling, and dry skin.
While varicose veins and the pain that they cause may not be entirely controllable, you can do several exercises to prevent them from forming. These exercises, such as stretching, staying hydrated, and taking cold showers can lessen your leg pain. If your pain is accompanied by swelling and feels continuous, it’s time to get help. There are a variety of treatment options for leg pain and varicose vein leg pain in particular. From VenaSeal to microphlebectomy, there is a treatment best suited for you.
Seek out treatment when you are experiencing leg pain! For anyone suffering from chronic leg pain, lower leg pain, leg swelling, or leg cramps, get in touch with Heart of Dixie today to schedule a consultation appointment with our leg pain specialists. Conveniently located in Cedar City, UT; St. George, UT; and Mesquite, NV, we’ll work with you to find the causes of your specific case of leg pain and identify the best treatment to relieve your pain.
Don’t let your legs hold you back anymore. It’s time to take charge of your life again rather than let leg pain call the shots. If you’re ready to get your beautiful, pain-free legs back, contact us today!