Does this seem familiar: painful legs that feel heavy and swollen, even if you haven’t been putting a ton of stress on them? Or leg pain that doesn’t go away with rest and relaxation? If this is your current reality, the cause may be something other than what you expect: vein disease. As the best vascular surgeons in Kissimmee, our team is familiar with the adverse effects that venous insufficiency can have on the legs, even if no visible symptoms are present. Here’s how the two can be linked.
What is Vein Disease?
Normally, your vein valves have the important job of circulating blood through the body. The vein valves in your leg, however, have to fight against gravity to push blood upward back to the heart. If these valves become weakened or damaged, as they’re likely to over time, blood starts pooling in the lower legs. This can lead to a myriad of vein issues that, for some, may simply be experienced as leg pain.
What Are the Symptoms of Vein Disease?
When blood starts pooling in the leg, you’re most likely to experience swelling in the legs and ankles. You may experience associated skin issues, including red or brown spots, leathery skin, and itchiness. Swelling in the leg can also impair your body’s ability to heal properly. Small leg traumas, like a minor bruise or scratch, can then increase your likelihood of developing a leg ulcer.
Many people don’t seek out vein treatment when experiencing these symptoms. That may be because venous insufficiency is most commonly linked to varicose vein symptoms, which are characterized by dark, bulging veins that are visible under the skin. Whether you’re experiencing visible symptoms or not, leg pain is still worth seeking out a specialist for treatment. Untreated vein problems can become worse over time, leading to ulcers or blood clots. Seeking out treatment early means that you can enjoy happy, pain-free legs again — while also reducing your risk of developing more severe vein problems!
Treatment Options for Vein Problems
A consultation with a specialist is necessary to determine what treatment path is best for you. Treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all — what may have worked for your neighbor may not work for you. Here’s a snapshot of what options could possibly benefit your vein health.
Endovenous Laser Treatment
Forget the old days of painful vein stripping — this minimally invasive treatment has become the gold standard for removing troublesome veins. During endovenous laser treatment, a vein specialist will use an ultrasound to locate the damaged vein. They will then insert a catheter and apply heat to the vein, causing it to collapse and seal shut. Blood is automatically routed to other, healthier veins.
For more severe cases of venous insufficiency, endovenous laser treatment may not be enough. Microphlebectomy can be beneficial for removing damaged veins. A specialist will make small micro-incisions, through which they can use a hook to tease out the vein and remove it. Results are instant — the bulging vein is immediately gone post procedure, without the scarring associated with older forms of vein stripping.
Sclerotherapy is normally more beneficial for milder forms of venous insufficiency, like spider veins. Depending on your needs, a specialist will use either an ultrasound or veinlite to locate the source of venous insufficiency. A sclerosing agent, polidocanol, will be inserted into the vein to irritate the vessels and cause them to be less visible. This can help reduce the appearance of the veins, although it does not remove them outright.
During the venaseal procedure, a specialist applies medical glue to the vein through a catheter. The vein then hardens and is absorbed by the body, effectively removing it without any scarring.
Compression stockings won’t get rid of venous insufficiency, but they can be great for managing symptoms. This legwear boosts circulation by strategically applying pressure to the leg, which can reduce some of the pain and swelling. Varying levels of compression are available, so consult a specialist to make sure you’re wearing the stockings that will give you the best results.
Like compression stockings, changes to your lifestyle won’t get rid of troublesome veins, but it can certainly help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of developing other vein problems. These lifestyle changes don’t have to be a drastic shift in your daily schedule! Put aside 30 minutes each day for a low-impact exercise, like walking or swimming, to help your circulation and strengthen your legs. Herbal supplements like horse chestnut can also help boost circulation and minimize swelling.
There are multiple ways you can say goodbye to leg pain. But which of these are the best? Only a specialist can tell. Vein specialists will go beyond visible symptoms and use a diagnostic device, such as an ultrasound, to get to the root of the pain. They can then use that information to determine which treatment will work best for you.
If you’re currently suffering from leg pain, schedule a consultation with one of the best vascular surgeons in Kissimmee at the Central Florida Vein & Vascular Center. Our highly experienced and knowledgeable specialists are dedicated to providing the best vein treatment possible. We’ll make sure that you’re comfortable with and knowledgeable about your treatment, from the initial phone call to scheduling a consultation all the way through to any post-treatment follow-up appointments. You can schedule a day to come see us by calling 407-545-3385 or 352-658-5547. If you’d like to learn more about venous insufficiency and the benefits of treatment, you can also check out our blog for more information.