From normal to ulcer formation
Early treatment can prevent irreversible changes.
Patients are welcome to seek help from South Wales Veins at any stage in their condition.
Complications of Varicose Veins
Early treatment prevents progression and permanent damage
You may experience heaviness, aching and itching. This is usually relieved by rest and elevation.
Itching, if not resisted, can result in dry, flaky, weaping skin, known as varicose eczema.
Treatment can help.
Complicated Varicose Veins
Swelling +/- eczema
You may notice heaviness, swelling and worse itching. The varicose eczema can worsen and you may suffer skin infections.
This is due to vein valves failing and high pressure on the tissues, with accumulation of fluid causing swelling. See the diagram below for a summary.
If left untreated this can progress ...
Severely Complicated Varicose Veins
Pigmentation - Thickened Tissues - Ulceration
You may notice that the skin around the lower leg becomes stained brown, swollen and the skin feels hard, stiff and woody.
These changes are a result of high pressure in the veins causing red blood cells to leak into the tissues. The body cannot remove them completely and this leaves a permanent brown stain
There is an increased risk of infection and the skin can break down, leaving a raw surface known as a venous ulcer.
Treatment can improve many of these complaints - however the once the brown discolouration occurs it is permanent.
Painful inflammation of veins
You are more prone to develop phlebitis if you have varicose veins. Phlebitis can be caused by minor injury to the vein. This is followed by pain, redness, swelling and tenderness. The blood within the affected lenght of vein will usually form a clot. If it occurs high in the thigh or behind the knee there is a risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), however this is not common.
Following an episode of phlebitis the vein affected is often blocked. There are many veins in the leg that can take blood around the blocked portion of the vein.