It’s understandable that many individuals give little attention to visible leg veins, as these veins have a gradual onset over many years. Often people have a parent, grandparent, or sibling who has varicose veins, and many women will start noticing them after pregnancy. Many of us chalk it up to nothing more than a subtle cosmetic issue in the beginning, and we go about living our lives as normal. The bigger issue is that the symptoms associated with varicose veins are vague, and for the most part they are akin to a toothache – intermittent and annoying, so we just put up with it until we simply can’t anymore. Often, that means years of needlessly suffering. So, for most people, realizing that there is a problem, and that the cause of that problem is varicose veins, is the often the hardest part.

People often ask if bulging veins are necessary prior to feeling these symptoms? The answer is no, and many of us have symptoms without the classic bulging veins. So, what are the classic signs and symptoms of varicose veins?

  • Bulging varicose veins or smaller visible veins
  • Dull aching and throbbing in the legs, worsening as the day goes on
  • Gradually increasing swelling of the legs, ankles and/or feet, often leaving sock lines
  • Tired and heavy legs, sometimes feeling like weights around the feet or ankles
  • Excessive itching of the legs
  • Severe dry skin, often requiring excessive lotion or moisturizer
  • Restless legs, including inability to fall asleep due to not being able to get your legs comfortable
  • Waking up in the nights to severe cramps or Charley horses (often attributed to dehydration or electrolyte deficiency)
  • Skin darkening and hardening or brownish spots over the shin
  • Excessive bruising or bleeding from small, incidental bumps
  • Scratches and cuts taking long amounts of time to heal
  • Intermittent redness and swelling over varicose veins (thrombophlebitis)
  • Skin breakdown (venous ulcers)

Patients also often ask whether they need to treat varicose veins right away, and what can happen if the varicose veins are not treated? The answers is that these symptoms take a long time to develop over years, making them hard to realize. For most, nothing will happen right away if varicose veins are not treated; but the symptoms and veins will simply continue to get worse and worse. Besides causing symptoms, varicose veins can lead to skin redness and pain over a clotted varicose vein, called superficial thrombophlebitis. They can also bleed severely, causing skin darkening and hardening, and in severe cases cause skin breakdown called venous ulcers. Varicose veins can even have an increased association with DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, as well.

Here at the Vein Institute of Rochester, NY, we recommend those having symptoms that are worsening or causing trouble with daily activities to seek help. Also, anybody with skin changes on the legs, bleeding or ulcers from varicose veins, or anyone having blood clots related to varicose veins should also seek the attention of medical professionals who specialize in vein treatments. 

If you’re in the greater Rochester area and concerned about new or intensifying varicose vein problems or suffer from any of the above symptoms, The Vein Institute offers a full spectrum of minimally invasive treatment options, as well as cutting-edge technology and nationally known vein specialists. Our physicians are board-certified interventional radiologists with years of experience in all vein treatments, from diagnosing a simple varicose vein to treating complex patients who have failed prior varicose vein surgeries, and from injecting spider veins for cosmetic improvement to reconstructing chronically clotted veins. Our office is located at 2050 South Clinton Avenue in Rochester, and we welcome your inquires via phone or email.  We can be reached by phone at 585-467-8346 or write to us through our website’s secure and confidential contact page.