Definition: Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red or flesh coloured. They are often raised above the skin on legs and can look like twisted bulging cords. Veins can become varicose when the vein valves that control blood flow become damaged or diseased, resulting in inefficient blood flow back to the heart.

Function: Although varicose veins may seem like a purely cosmetic issue, it may become more malicious in nature. Chronic Venus Insufficiency (CVI) is a progressive medical condition that can worsen over time and that affects the veins and vessels in the leg that carry oxygen-poor blood back toward the heart. CVI is often preceded by varicose veins. Without treatment, some people with CVI may experience symptoms that can be debilitating and can significantly impact quality of life.

Mechanism of Injury

Varicose veins occur when the valves in the leg veins no longer function properly, causing blood to pool in the legs.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Leg heaviness and fatigue
  • Leg or ankle swelling
  • Leg pain, aching or cramping
  • Varicose veins
  • Skin changes or rashes
  • Ulcers, open wounds or sores

Causes

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Lifestyle or occupation that requires prolonged standing
  • Obesity or excess weight
  • Current or previous pregnancies
  • Smoking
  • Genetics

Pedorthic Treatments

Custom Made orthotics are primarily used to treat mechanical problems of the feet and legs. Varicose veins are not a mechanical problem therefore will not be resolved with foot orthotics. However, proper footwear is important. Be sure that the shoe is not too restrictive in a particular area and avoid high heeled shoes that would limit the use of the muscles of the calf.

Other Treatment

  • Compression stockings--By compressing the limb with graduated compression (strongest at the ankle and decreasing going up the leg), the compression stocking acts as a layer of muscle by gently squeezing the stretched vein walls together, allowing the valves to close. The cavity of the vein is reduced, thereby restoring blood flow to a near normal state and aiding overall circulation.
  • Radio frequency ablation (heat) to seal off the affected vein.

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