What is venous insufficiency and how can it be treated?

What is venous insufficiency and how can it be treated?

If you have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), that means the valves in your leg veins have stopped working properly. They’re letting some blood pool in your legs instead of sending it back to the heart. Left untreated, CVI can lead to ulcers and infections in the legs.

Symptoms of CVI

How do you know if you have CVI? Symptoms include:

  • Pain or itchiness in the legs
  • Swelling, especially toward the ankle and lower leg
  • Varicose veins
  • Tired or heavy-feeling legs
  • Leathery-looking or reddish-brown skin
  • Ulcers on the skin

Treatments for CVI

The best treatment for CVI will depend on your individual circumstances and how severe the condition has become.

If your CVI is fairly mild, your treatment may include:

  • Using compression stocking to help prevent blood from pooling.
  • Getting adequate exercise. Walking is one of the best exercises for CVI because the leg muscles help keep the blood moving, toward the heart.
  • Avoiding long periods of sitting or standing. If you’re stuck in an airplane or car for a long trip, flex and extend your legs and feet every so often. 
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight. 
  • Putting your legs up while sitting or lying down so that your legs are above the level of your heart.

If you’ve already developed sores or infections, in addition to the above treatment, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection. In some cases, you may also need medicine to prevent blood clots.

You will need to practice good “skin hygiene,” making sure to keep your skin moisturized to help prevent it from cracking. The doctor may also suggest medicated creams to protect the skin and prevent itching.

Sometime patients with CVI will need additional nonsurgical medical procedures, such as sclerotherapy, in which the doctor injects the damaged vein with a solution that helps collapse the vein so blood can be diverted through healthier veins.

In most cases, nonsurgical procedures along with good home care will be enough. Only about 10 percentof people with CVI will need surgery. 

If you have questions about vein issues, feel free to contact us at Palm Vein Center. 

Talk to our team to learn more about the best conservative and interventional treatment options for your vein condition.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

For more information on vein diseases and the treatments provided by the specialists at Palm Vein Center or to make an appointment, call 623-201-4777. We look forward to meeting you!