Aches and pains might seem like a normal feature of growing older, but persistent pain is always a matter of concern, and needs to be addressed.
Leg pain, especially after prolonged periods of standing or sitting, may be a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). The veins in your legs contain valves that prevent your blood from flowing backwards. In CVI, these valves don’t work properly, putting pressure on the veins, and causing blood to pool in your legs.
Symptoms of CVI
- Painful leg cramps
- Varicose veins
- Leg skin that is tough and leathery
- Brownish skin, usually around the ankles
- Leg ulcers
Causes of CVI
CVI is a relatively common condition, affecting up to 40% of Americans. Women are more likely than men to suffer from CVI. It is most common in those with the following:
- Family history of CVI
- Age over 50
- History of blood clots
- History of multiple pregnancies
Even if you have the symptoms and risk factors for CVI, it is important to be diagnosed by a doctor. A reliable diagnosis includes testing, usually a Duplex ultrasound that gives an image of the structure of your veins and how blood moves through them. You may also have other testing to ensure that there are no other causes of your pain or swelling.
Treatment for CVI
It is important to treat CVI. Untreated, the condition can cause the capillaries in your legs to burst, leading to swelling and ulcers which may become infected.
Treatment may include:
- Both standing and sitting will impede the blood flow to your legs. Walking, on the other hand, improves blood flow.
- Compression hose. These will prevent blood from pooling in your legs. Compression hose comes in a variety of weights and styles. Your doctor will be able to tell you what type of hose would be most beneficial.
- You may need medication to prevent blood clots, or antibiotics to treat leg ulcers.
- Weight loss. If obesity is contributing to your CVI, losing weight will alleviate the problem.
- Medical treatment. In severe cases of CVI, your doctor may suggest one of a variety of medical treatments. Some are minimally invasive; one in ten cases of CVI are so severe that they require more extensive surgery.
CVI is not just a nuisance or inconvenience. It needs to be addressed before it causes serious problems.
The staff at Hamilton Grove Health Care and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, knows just how to deal with venous problems. If leg pain is hampering your quality of life, call us at 609-588-5800 or click here.