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The Pain of Varicose Veins


Written By: Emma Squillace

Varicose veins may look unsightly and cause people to feel self-conscious about summer clothing, but they are more than a cosmetic issue. Varicose veins can be quite painful. There are some lucky people who do not feel physical symptoms of varicose veins, although often as time goes by, the symptoms start. Why do varicose veins hurt, and is there anything I can do about the pain? Today we’ll cover the most common physical side effects of visible varicose veins, and what can be done to alleviate them.

Types of varicose vein pain & discomfort

There are a variety of types of discomfort that people with varicose veins often report.

  1. Aching. It is common for someone with varicose veins to report that their legs ache. Aching is generally not a sharp, acute pain, but it can be distracting and draining. Often people who feel aching say their varicose veins stop them from being as active as they’d like to be. Although aching pain is usually dull, it can still be a strong and burdensome pain that many suffer with every day. It can also make sleeping difficult.
  2. Heaviness. Often times aching and heaviness are reported together. It is very common for people with varicose veins to say that their legs truly feel extra heavy. They have trouble standing up, and physically feel dragged down. Like aching, the feeling of heaviness can discourage physical movement. Although your legs are not actually as heavy as they feel, this symptom is thought to be caused by the swelling that can accompany varicose veins. This heavy feeling may also be related to depleted oxygen and insufficient blood flow in your legs, which is caused by varicose veins.
  3. Itching. Some people never experience itching with their varicose veins, but some of our patients do. Itching from varicose veins is often Venous Dermatitis, which is an inflammation caused by the buildup of fluid that can come with varicose veins. The swollen vein puts pressure on your skin from the inside, which damages capillaries and tissue. Over time, that skin can get harder, red, and flaky. This makes the itching worse, and is a very difficult cycle to break, especially since scratching the itchy skin can cause more damage, which leads to more itching.  

Ways to treat varicose vein pain & discomfort

  1. Move more. Although it may seem counter-intuitive since varicose veins may hurt when you stand up, moving more can help ease some symptoms of varicose veins. You do not need to do strenuous exercise. Walking can be one of the best exercise choices, since it really encourages blood flow.
  2. Put your feet up. Try to find times throughout the day when you can lie with your legs elevated, so that your feet are above your heart. This will take some pressure off your legs and can help alleviate symptoms. Sometimes standing still too long, or sitting for a long time, can be the worst aggravators of varicose vein symptoms. Putting your feet up improves circulation.
  3. Try compression stockings. While the relief is temporary, compression stockings are a good short-term pain relief option for some people. They help the blood flow through the legs, and can decrease symptoms like swelling and leg heaviness.

While these tips can reduce pain and swelling in the short term, the only true way to get rid of the pain of varicose veins is to treat the vein itself. A varicose vein cannot be cured without medical treatment. If you are suffering from heavy, aching legs, or itchy skin that will not heal, varicose vein treatment may be a good option for you. We not only can restore your legs to a more youthful appearance, but can offer true relief from your symptoms.

Do you have questions about varicose vein treatment? If so, please get in touch with us. Our expert vein team can help you understand the causes, risks of, and treatments for varicose veins. We offer the most minimally invasive solutions to allow you to be free from your varicose veins, and often these options are covered by insurance. You can reach us anytime at (855) 690-0565.


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