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Symptoms, Causes & Physiotherapy for Varicose Veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency is a medical condition that refers to lower extremity edema, skin changes, and mild to extreme discomfort. There are often disability-related problems that the individual faces that are caused by chronic venous insufficiency. These usually appear in the areas of the legs, feet, and ankles. 

Spider veins, which generally surround the varicose ones,  are smaller purple or red lines which appear close to the skin’s surface. There is an impact that is felt on the quality of life as well as a loss of productivity. It needs treatment as soon as detected, because if left untreated can degenerate, and can lead to post-phlebitic syndrome and venous ulcers. It depends on the extremity of the condition as well, but either way, should be consulted with a doctor at the earliest. 

Varicose Veins Injury Causes

Varicose veins are usually the result of the failure of venous valves in the saphenous veins. This often results in retrograde flow of the blood, stasis, and even pooling within the branches of the veins. The regular flow which is usually regulated by the valves is interrupted, which causes the problems. 

If the valves don’t function as they should this could lead to ad additional ambulatory venous pressure, which has its own symptoms.  The walls of the veins become weak, and then valves can’t keep up with the blood pressure, which is when they don’t function as well as they should. 

This can occur due to several reasons. Some varicose veins causes include:

  • Aging
  • Genetic history
  • Gender- women are more likely to develop the condition due to hormonal changes in the body 
  • Pregnancy
  • Being in the standing or sitting positions for long periods at a stretch 
  • Health conditions such as tumors and constipation
  • Excessive weight and obesity
  • Use of tobacco 

Varicose Veins Symptoms

Some of the main associated early stage varicose veins symptoms:

  • Dilated veins which are usually dark purple or blue in a color show at the surface of the skin on the legs, ankles, and feet. Could also include the pelvic area if the patient has had children
  • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
  • Aches, especially in the knee area
  • Heaviness and discomfort after standing for a while or any physical activity
  • Burning, throbbing, and muscle cramps in the lower legs
  • Discoloration of the skin- hyperpigmentation with hemosiderin deposition and eczematous dermatitis 
  • Potential ulcer formation due to the production of lipodermatosclerosis
  • Risk of formation of cellulite
  • Delayed wound healing

Varicose Veins Diagnosis

Several steps are taken to diagnose varicose veins. There is a physical examination that is done first. The examination has some smaller components such as the Trendelenburg Test and Schwartz Test. These check the functioning of the system of the veins in the leg. 

Then there is usually an ultrasound which checks the blood flow, and how the valves are functioning. It shows if there are any blood clots as well. Then there is the venogram, which shows the functioning of the valves and the conditions of the veins as well. 

Physiotherapy Treatment for Varicose Veins

There are a few varicose veins treatment options present for this, which include surgical procedures, and endovascular treatment. The lifestyle changes are important to be taken into consideration while getting back into the daily grind. Control of one’s weight, extra care of the limbs, and optimum practices and exercises to keep the calves and ankle joints supple are the key goals. 

Some of the common physiotherapy practices include compression stocking, which uses compression therapy (provided by things like elastic bandages, stockings, and compression devices), and a structured exercise program suggested by your doctor. Other methods include Complete Decongestive Therapy, Intermittent Pneumatic Compression, and Kinesio Taping if required. 

Patterns of elevation are also observed. Walking or running are also encouraged- and other physical activities such as swimming and biking can also help, and should be taken up if possible. Biking exercises are definitely encouraged, even if there isn’t a real bike. 

Motions of pedaling are what is needed, which can be done by lying on one’s back and bending the knees to mimic the motion of it. Lunges are also prescribed because it keeps the knees and legs in a good condition. There is also the option of laser therapy, in which a catheter is used to close off a damaged vein. 

Cautionary Advice

It is key that the patient themselves should be aware of the causes and how they can aid their bodies to heal and get better. They are advised to lead a healthy and active life and keep a check on their weight to prevent the varicose veins from occurring. 

They are generally asked to avoid standing for long periods of time. They should stretch regularly, even more so if they have a job that needs them to be on their feet. Certain varicose veins therapy can also help with improvement in health.

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