Complications of Untreated Varicose Veins #5: Swelling

Swollen Ankles

Leg swelling is a common symptoms of varicose veins and venous insufficiency. The legs often feel heavy. It is common to notice sock lines around the ankles by the end of the day.

Complications of Untreated Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency #5: Swelling of the Ankles/legs

Leg swelling (swelling is also known as edema), is a common complaint related to varicose veins and underlying venous insufficiency. Leg swelling can be present simply from underlying venous insufficiency without visible signs of varicose veins or spider veins. As a result, a venous insufficiency study by duplex ultrasound scanning is part of the recommend work-up for leg swelling.  The swelling usually affects the ankles.  Most people with vein-related swelling experience progressive swelling throughout the day, that is worse at night time and improved in the morning (they usually wake up with normal appearing legs in the morning but by night-time, shoes may feel tight.) Vein-related swelling is worse at the end of the day, with prolonged standing, sitting or with air travel, heat and menstruation.  The degree of swelling varies from one person to another.

Compression stockings and legs elevation will help reduce swelling.   If the swelling can be attributed to the varicose veins or venous insufficiency, correction of the underlying vein problem will reduce swelling.

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