Veins are responsible for bringing blood back to the heart, sometimes working against gravity. When you walk, muscles in your leg squeeze the veins and help blood flow back into the heart. In normal veins, a series of valves assist this process. In chronic venous insufficiency, poorly functioning valves allow the blood to pool in the lower leg and cause symptoms.
Pain, itching, swelling, burning, leg heaviness or tiredness, skin discoloration. Symptoms typically worsen throughout the day and are partially relieved by elevation or wearing compression socks or stockings.
Knee-high compression stockings, usually that provide 20-30 mmHg of compression, will often help relieve symptoms such as aching or swelling.
Ablation therapy (laser, radiofrequency, or mechanical injection) is another option. A tube is advanced through the entire vein and then all the surrounding skin is numbed. The ablation catheter is then started and the vein treated. This part of the procedure is painless and typically takes 20 minutes. After the procedure the leg is wrapped with a compression bandage.
If the affected veins are twisted and are not sufficiently straight, sclerotherapy may be recommended.