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Do varicose veins hurt?

April 10, 2023 • mdconnect • Varicose Veins

Can you have varicose veins if you don’t have pain? The truth is most people don’t feel pain with varicose veins. It’s not pain like when you cut yourself or have a headache. Many may notice discomfort, though. What symptoms should you be looking for if you have varicose veins?

What Causes Pain?

First, let’s address the elephant in the room – pain. Pain comes in many formats, but what people associate with this word comes from specific nerves. When your hand touches a hot stove, it triggers a nervous system response the brain interprets as pain. Varicose veins do not cause this type of pain. What they can cause is a feeling of discomfort and heaviness in the legs. This comes from a buildup of blood in the diseased veins.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Veins move unoxygenated blood toward the heart, often against the forces of gravity. Valves are built into the veins’ walls to assist in this process. Varicose veins have damaged or diseased valves that allow blood to pool, causing a feeling of heaviness. As the walls of the vein contract to move the blood upward, the valves open. As the walls relax, the valves close to keep blood from flowing backward. Over time, these valves can stop working properly. They may gap a bit, allowing blood to move backward. It will pool around the next working valve. That allows the veins to become engorged and cause discomfort in the legs. The engorged valves add weight to the legs, and that makes them feel heavy and achy.

When Might You Feel Pain With Varicose Veins?

There could be some painful signs that you have varicose veins. For example, the heaviness of your legs might make them achy. You might also have a burning or throbbing sensation or muscle cramps. Some people develop swelling in their ankles and ulcerations in the skin. These might also be painful.

Other Signs of Varicose Veins

One obvious sign of varicose veins is that you can see them. If the diseased vein is close to the skin, it will look like a blue or purple line. Veins that are right under the skin appear twisted or bulging. You can have varicose veins deep in your legs, though. You would not see those. It’s essential to remember that some people have varicose veins despite no symptoms. This is especially true with veins that are deep in the legs.

Dangerous Pain In the Legs

Since most people don’t feel pain with their varicose veins, you should take notice if you do. It might indicate you have a more serious condition, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). A DVT is a blood clot that forms deep in your leg. Symptoms of a DVT include:
  • Pain in the leg, usually the calf
  • Redness in the skin
  • The skin will be warm to the touch
A DVT can be a serious medical problem. The blood clot can break apart, sending smaller clots to other areas of the body. They can block the circulation to the heart, brain, or legs, leading to a medical emergency such as a stroke or pulmonary embolism. Whether you have pain or just heavy, achy legs, you need to get them checked. There are treatments for varicose veins that can ease your discomfort and improve the health of your legs. So call today and make an appointment at the Desert Vein Institute. We can help.

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