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- Varicose veins are knobbly, twisted and darkish-blue in appearance, and are most commonly found on peoples legs.
- Varicose veins are caused by faulty valves within veins, that allow blood to pool.
- Treatment options for varicose and spider veins include sclerotherapy and surgery.
- Sclerotherapy is the injection of a solution into the vein.
- Most people can expect an improvement in the appearance of treated veins.
How Do Compression Stockings Help Treat Varicose Veins And Spider Veins
Compression stockings put pressure on your veins, which increases blood flow from your legs. There are three kinds of compression stockings:
- Support pantyhose, which give the least amount of pressure. These are sold in most stores.
- Over-the-counter gradient compression hose, which give a little more pressure around the foot, ankle, and lower leg, where pressure is needed most to move the blood back toward your heart. These are sold in medical supply stores and some drugstores.
- Prescription-strength gradient compression hose, which offer the greatest amount of pressure to the feet, ankles, and lower legs. You may need a prescription from your doctor to buy them, especially if your insurance plan covers it. You will also need to be fitted by someone who has been trained to do this. These hose are sold in medical supply stores and some drugstores.
Some stronger compression stockings can hurt people with certain medical conditions, such as certain types of heart disease or heart failure. Ask your doctor or nurse if it’s safe for you to use prescription-strength compression stockings or what strength would be safe for you.
Why Do Varicose Veins Happen
Varicose veins develop when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly.
In a healthy vein, blood flows smoothly to the heart. The blood is prevented from flowing backwards by a series of tiny valves that open and close to let blood through.
If the valves weaken or are damaged, the blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to be swollen and enlarged .
Certain things can increase your chances of developing varicose veins, such as:
Read more about the causes of varicose veins.
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How Is A Popliteal Vein Thrombosis Diagnosed
A sudden onset of swelling, tenderness, and pain in the leg could indicate that you have a DVT. If the discomfort and swelling is in the area behind the knee, it may be a popliteal vein thrombosis.
Your doctor will do a physical exam. Following the exam, they may perform an ultrasound of your leg. The ultrasound will focus on the area of the suspected clot. If popliteal vein thrombosis is suspected, your doctor will do an ultrasound of your knee. An ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the bones and tissue inside your leg.
They may also order a venography. In this test, they inject a special dye into your vein and take an X-ray. The dye makes the image inside the vein clearer and can reveal whether a blood clot is affecting your circulation.
A blood test called a D-dimer test is also helpful. It tests your blood for a substance released by blood clots. Evidence of D-dimer in your blood suggests a vein thrombosis, but it doesnt help your doctor locate the clot. The other imaging tests and your physical symptoms will help your doctor locate it.
Getting Your Varicose Veins Diagnosed
If your varicose veins are causing pain, heaviness or itching, make an appointment at your GP practice.
It might be useful to keep a diary of symptoms that include the things that improve or worsen the symptoms and the time of day that they happen.
Remember to remove any nail polish from your toenails before your appointment.
When you see the nurse or doctor, they should:
- Ask about your symptoms and how long you have had problems
- Examine your lower legs
You might also be offered some tests to check for other health problems that can affect your legs, such as diabetes and anaemia.
If your varicose veins are bleeding your GP practice should refer you to a vascular service immediately. Your GP should also refer you to a vascular service if your varicose veins are hard and painful, or causing skin discoloration or itchiness and eczema. This might be sign of problems with the blood flow in the leg so need to be checked out .
If you are referred to a specialist vascular clinic you will probably be offered a duplex ultrasound scan to diagnose your varicose veins. This scan uses high-frequency sound waves to produce a picture of the veins and blood flow in your legs.
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How Is A Popliteal Vein Thrombosis Treated
If your doctor diagnoses you with a popliteal vein thrombosis, the first treatment youll receive is anticoagulant therapy. Anticoagulants are medications that interfere with clotting. Some examples are heparin and warfarin .
Newer anticoagulants have been approved, including rivaroxaban , apixaban , and dabigatran . Anticoagulants and your bodys defenses may help a clot dissolve over time. Use of aspirin for a longer period may also help reduce the risk of new clots forming in your veins.
Depending on where the clot is located and how serious it is, your doctor may need to remove the clot. They can use special catheters to do this, but this isnt always an option. Clots that are especially difficult to reach may require surgery to remove.
Wearing compression stockings can also improve blood circulation in your lower legs.
Ask The Coaches: Varicose Veins Behind The Knee
Q: Varicose Veins Behind the Knee: I’m getting pain behind my knee which is aggrevated while running. Someone pointed out that the veins were swollen after my run. Is this varicose veins? Is it curable and should I be running?
A: Varicose veins are enlarged superficial veins that are quite prominent in the legs, especially with prolonged periods of time on your feet they typically do not cause knee pain while running. When symptomatic, people complain of aching legs, not specifically knee pain. The prominent veins that you describe may be varicosities or could be normal. Exercise, especially in hot weather causes your veins to be more prominent as your body is increasing blood flow to the skin for cooling. If you have varicose veins, consider wearing knee high compression socks while running.
Factors that may contribute to the development of varicose veins include family history and pregnancies. Support hose can be helpful if mild symptoms are present. Treatments to eliminate the varicosities include surgery and various methods of shrinking the veins though the problem may recur with the latter methods.
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–Dr. Cathy Fieseler, MD
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Finding Help For Varicose Veins
The goal of treatment is to help relieve your symptoms, reduce the risk of further complications, and improve the appearance of the affected area. Your doctor should be able to refer you to the right specialist for your specific medical need. But if youre doing your own research, youll likely find that many providers offer some type of varicose vein treatment. This includes dermatologists, technicians, med spas, specialty vein clinics, plastic surgeons and other types of surgeons.
With all of these options, its important for you to make an informed decision. Start by understanding the different kinds of services and certifications involved in vein removal and treatment. Some providers may be limited in the types of treatments that they can provide. Others may not be qualified or suitable to treat your medical needs.
Ultimately, the safest route is to seek help from professionals with experience in vein care and extensive knowledge about current vein procedures and treatments.
I Have Had A Blood Clot Before And I Am Worried
I am scheduled for a right leg radiofrequency ablation. I have venous insufficiency in the saphenous vein and have had a blood clot before. Question: In 2006, I underwent an artificial lumbar disk implant. This failed causing artificial disk to move into the spine. While surgeon removed the artificial disk implant, he nicked the liac
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Caring For Compression Stockings
Compression stockings usually have to be replaced every three to six months. If your stockings become damaged, speak to your GP because they may no longer be effective.
You should be prescribed two stockings so that one stocking can be worn while the other is being washed and dried. Compression stockings should be hand washed in warm water and dried away from direct heat.
Side Effects Of Sclerotherapy For Varicose Or Spider Veins
- no compression has been applied
- the applied compression has not been enough
- you are on the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy
- you have an underlying tendency to clotting
- the treatment has been performed just after long-distance travel or a major operation
- the underlying source of leakage in the vein has not been treated adequately
- the inflammation extends to the deep veins, causing deep vein thrombosis . DVT is a rare but serious complication of sclerotherapy. It can extend to the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism and even death
- it is recommended that women stop all hormonal supplements before sclerotherapy .
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Varicose Veins And Knee Surgery: Final Comments
In this blog we informed you on can knee surgery cause varicose veins? Further, we dealt with venous insufficiency after knee replacement.
Additionally, we also dealt with chronic insufficiency and knee replacement, and varicose veins after surgery complications.
To conclude, although the risk of getting varicose increases after knee surgery, you can still avail the best possible treatment to cure the same.
Visit Dr. Ramakant, the best orthopedic doctor in Patna for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency and knee replacement.
Moreover, you can prevent it by developing a healthy lifestyle and exercise concerned to reduce the chances of varicose veins.
Varicose Veins Vs Spider Veins
Varicose veins are not the same as spider veins those small, thin blood vessels that appear on the skin. Spider veins can be red, blue, or purple in color, and take on a shape that resembles a spider web . Spider veins are harmless themselves, but can be a symptom of poor circulation or a sign of increased risk for varicose veins.
Varicose veins are more prominentbulging out from just beneath the surface of the skin. They may also appear swollen, twisted, or engorgedalmost like they might burst. Although they can develop anywhere in the body, they are most often found on the legs and ankles and can be blue or dark purple in color.
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When To See A Gp
If you have varicose veins and they do not cause you any discomfort, you may not need to visit a GP.
Varicose veins are rarely a serious condition and do not usually require treatment.
But speak to a GP if:
- your varicose veins are causing you pain or discomfort
- the skin over your veins is sore and irritated
- the aching in your legs is causing irritation at night and disturbing your sleep
The GP can diagnose varicose veins based on these symptoms, although further tests may be carried out.
What Are The Risk Factors
If youve had knee or hip replacement, or another major operation involving the legs, youre at an increased risk. This is partly due to being bedridden for a long operation and the recovery period that follows. Tissue from the bones or joints your surgeon is operating on can break off into tiny pieces. This can cause clots in your bloodstream.
Pregnancy can temporarily increase your risk of blood clots. Other risk factors for popliteal vein thrombosis include the following:
- people who smoke
- women who take birth control pills
- women who take hormone replacement therapy
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Answer: Tributary Varicose Veins Behind The Knee Originate From The Small Saphenous System
Most likely, tributary varicose veins behind the knee originate from the small saphenous system. Less commonly, they originate from the intersaphenous system that connects the great and lesser saphenous systems. You need a venous Doppler Ultrasound exam to measure the veins, map the entire saphenous system and also determine if you have venous insufficiency. In the interim, wear graduated medical compression stockings that are thigh high to help relieve symptoms. I recommend durable, microfiber 20-30 mm Hg medical grade compression stockings from VenaSmart.
Skill Is The Key To Getting Best Results
The results you will see depend largely on the person performing the leg vein treatment. Because dermatologists made many of the advances that have given us safer, less invasive treatments for leg veins, they have a leg up on using these treatments.
You can find a dermatologist who treats leg veins by going to, Find a dermatologist and coose the specialty of Cosmetic Dermatology.
When you call the office, ask if the dermatologist regularly treats leg veins.
Related AAD resources
ImagesImage 1 used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 1998 38:461-75.
Images 2 and 3 from Thinkstock
ReferencesAmerican Academy of Dermatology, Dermatologists have a leg up on newer minimally invasive treatments for leg veins. News release issued July 31, 2013.
Moul DK, Housman L, et al. Endovenous laser ablation of the great and short saphenous veins with a 1320-nm neodymium: yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 70:326-31.
Nijsten T and van den Bos RR, et al. Minimally invasive techniques in the treatment of saphenous varicose veins. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2009 60:110-9.
Weiss RA and Dover JS. Leg vein management: Sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, and laser surgery. In: Kaminer MS, Dover JS, et al. Atlas of Cosmetic Surgery . WB Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 2002: 407-32.
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Ways To Test For Spider Veins
A type of vascular ultrasound done to check blood flow and the structure of the leg veins.
A procedure similar to duplex ultrasound that uses color to show the direction of blood flow.
Magnetic resonance venography
A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets and a computer to view the veins. Dye is injected into the veins to better see them. An MRV can also help diagnose other causes of leg pain.
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How Can I Prevent Varicose Veins
You may not be able to prevent varicose veins. You can reduce your chances of developing them by living an active, healthy lifestyle. Healthcare providers recommend many of the same measures to prevent and treat varicose veins:
- Avoid long periods of standing: To encourage blood flow, take regular breaks to stretch and walk around, especially if you have a job that requires you to be on your feet.
- Elevate your legs: Raising your feet above your waist helps blood flow to your heart.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Getting rid of excess pounds reduces pressure inside your blood vessels.
- Quit tobacco use:Smoking damages blood vessels, decreases blood flow and causes a wide range of health problems.
- Stay active: To improve circulation, move frequently and avoid sitting still for prolonged periods.
- Try compression stockings: Support socks and pantyhose compress your veins and help blood circulate, which can prevent varicose veins from getting worse.
- Wear clothes that fit properly: To encourage blood flow, make sure your waistband isnt too tight.
Causes Of Nontraumatic Leg Pain
Peripheral artery disease : Pain in one or both legs may be due to a decrease in arterial blood supply due to narrowing arteries.
Blood clots: in an artery can completely obstruct blood supply, preventing tissues from getting oxygen, causing acute pain.
Venous blood clots deep venous thrombosis causes a damming effect, causing redness, swelling, warmth, and pain.
Superficial veins also clot and cause pain, but are not life-threatening.
Low back pain from sciatica may radiate into the buttocks and down the leg.
Spinal stenosis may result in pain, numbness, and weakness.
Cauda equina syndrome: is a serious neurosurgical emergency in which back pain, weakness and numbness around the perineal area , results in inability to urinate and loss of bowel control.
Neuropathy: peripheral nerve inflammations peripheral neuropathies occurring from direct nerve irritation or illness, cause foot and toe pain.
Chronic illnesses: diabetes, alcoholism, cancer, and vitamin deficiencies result in nerve pain that often affects both legs.
Skin inflammations & infections: cause significant pain, especially with underlying illnesses that prevent adequate healing. Skin that is stretched due to edema or fluid accumulation also causes pain.
Shingles: cause pain due to inflammation of spinal cord nerves.
Joint pain: may occur from a local injury, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid or other types of arthritis.
Varicose veins enlarged due to improperly functioning valves, often seen in the legs.
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