Varicose Veins

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What are Varicose Veins?

Most people have seen them or heard of them, but what are varicose veins?

Overview

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins in the legs, ankles or feet. They are a blue or purple colour and can be lumpy, twisted or bulging in appearance. Around one in three people have varicose veins, with women being four times more likely to develop the condition than men.

What are Varicose Veins?

Most people have seen them or heard of them, but what are varicose veins?

Overview

Varicose veins are enlarged and swollen veins in the legs, ankles or feet. They are a blue or purple colour and can be lumpy, twisted or bulging in appearance. Around one in three people have varicose veins, with women being four times more likely to develop the condition than men.

What are the different types of varicose veins?

There are two main types:

Trunk Veins Diagram

Trunk Varicose Veins

These are usually clearly visible as they are near to the surface of the skin. They look thick, lumpy, and twisted.

Reticular veins diagram

Reticular veins

These lie in the deeper layers of the skin and are less lumpy than trunk varicose veins. They are red and can appear close together in a network.

What causes varicose veins?

Veins contain tiny one-way valves that open to allow blood to flow back up to your heart. When vein walls lose their elasticity, the valves can weaken, causing blood to flow backwards. Blood then collects in your veins, creating high pressure and making them swell and enlarge. Medical professionals do not yet fully understand why this happens, but they do know that there are certain risk factors.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

Our patients report a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Achy, heavy and restless legs;
  • Pain, itching or throbbing over a prominent vein;
  • Swollen ankles and feet;
  • Muscle cramps;
  • Dry skin; and
  • Colour changes in the lower leg.

Read Varicose Veins Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for more information on the management of varicose vein pain and discomfort. 

Can varicose veins cause other health problems?

Aside from being a cosmetic issue, varicose veins can lead to other health complications, including:

Bleeding

If your varicose veins are near the surface of the skin, they may bleed if you cut or knock your leg. The bleeding may be difficult to stop due to the high pressure in the vein. In most cases, you can apply a simple first aid to stem the bleeding — lie down and elevate your leg above your heart while applying pressure to the wound. If this doesn’t work, seek immediate medical advice.

Blood clots

When the blood stops flowing in your veins, it can thicken and clot, causing one or more of the conditions described below.

Superficial thrombophlebitis

This is an inflamed vein close to the surface of the skin. The affected vein becomes hot, hard, painful and appears lumpy. There is a small risk of the clot migrating to a deep vein where it can progress to a deep vein thrombosis.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

A blood clot within a deep vein in the leg that can cause pain and swelling. A DVT may lead to serious complications, such as a pulmonary embolism. This is when a piece of the clot breaks off into the bloodstream and blocks one of the blood vessels in the lungs.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)

When blood collects in the veins, it affects the way that skin exchanges oxygen, nutrients and waste products with your blood. If this occurs over a long period, it is called chronic venous insufficiency. Conditions associated with CVI include:

Varicose eczema

Patches of skin become red, itchy and scaly. Varicose eczema usually occurs in the lower leg, ankle or over the affected vein.

Lipodermatosclerosis

The skin above the varicose vein becomes fragile, appears pink or brown and feels tight and hard to the touch. Further injury to the area can result in a leg ulcer.

The good news is that with the right treatment, varicose veins and their associated complications can be remedied.

What treatments do you offer?

Your treatment journey will begin with a thorough consultation and clinical examination. Here we determine a treatment plan that will give you the best possible outcome for your specific leg issues.

Rebecca Beardsley
Rebecca Beardsley
2021-04-20
I highly recommend Premier Veins, from start to finish Mr Claridge and his team were fantastic. I have suffered with pain full varicose veins and varicose eczema for years. The difference in my legs just a few months after treatment is incredible. No more sore, swollen, itchy legs! And the after care was plan was easy to follow
Claire Harrigan
Claire Harrigan
2021-04-09
Could not recommend Premier Veins enough. From start to finish they have been amazing, especially after some issues with my insurance company. Sue and Ruth were both extremely helpful. I told Mr Adam that I was particularly nervous about the procedure and he did everything he could to keep me calm, his nurse was also superb. 6 weeks after the procedure I can already see the results and can’t wait for things to fully heal.
Vicki Maskell
Vicki Maskell
2021-04-08
I booked an appointment for my father to see Mr Adam for a second opinion and some reassurance about his health. I cannot recommend Mr Adam enough he is a lovely man who listened, took time to explain everything to my father who left completely reassured. Fantastic service from booking through to consultation.
Jan Rollason
Jan Rollason
2021-02-05
Recently had an appointment with Mr Adam for a varicose problem needing a scan . Mr Adam was able to scan but suggested it was not a vascular problem leading to a very prompt correct diagnosis that cleared up a long standing issue in just a few days . Cannot fault the care received ,- this was my 84 year old father and he came out having been treated extremely well ( and kindly!! ) Communication was excellent , very quick appointment . Highly recommend .
Mark Wilkes
Mark Wilkes
2020-11-17
My experience with Premier Veins was top rate. The clinic is comfortable and well organised despite restrictions placed on everywhere by COVID. It was easy to book and appointments were confirmed via email. A written summary was posted to me.The team I met, Martin Claridge and Gareth, were welcolming, reassuring and extremely professional. I was put at ease and the treatment was completed in two sessions of around an hour each. There was only mild discomfort during the procedures and everything was explained in detail. My varicose veins are completely healed. I can thoroughly recomend Premier Veins.