7 Sure Signs It’s Time to See a Vein Specialist
If you’re experiencing painful or unsightly symptoms in your legs and you’re not sure what the cause is, it may be time to talk with a vein doctor. Vein and vascular conditions may appear unexpectedly with a variety of symptoms that can be hard to recognize. The first step to restoring the health of your legs, or veins in other areas, is to identify your symptoms and schedule an appointment with a vein specialist.
Below are seven sure signs it’s time to see a vein specialist.
1. Your leg pain is interfering with daily activities.
Varicose veins are a common cause of leg pain. Most patients with varicose veins feel generalized aching and throbbing in their legs that can worsen with daily activities, hobbies or physical fitness. A physical exam along with diagnostic ultrasound is necessary to determine if leg pain is caused by venous insufficiency or if it’s caused by something else. Wearing medical grade compression stockings can provide temporary relief, NOT as a definitive treatment. If you and your physician agree that compression stockings are appropriate for you, we keep a large stock of them on hand and we distribute them to our active patients at wholesale prices. If you need them, we can provide them for you during your first appointment.
2. At the end of the day or after standing for extended periods of time, your legs feel weak or heavy.
Like leg pain, varicose veins can cause weak and heavy-feeling legs, aggravated by long periods of standing. This fatigue is often relieved once the legs are elevated. Symptoms of weak or tired legs after sitting or standing for an extended time is not normal in healthy legs. If you’re experiencing this, it might be time for you to schedule an appointment with a vein doctor.
3. Your legs and/or ankles appear swollen in the evening but appear normal in the morning.
While swelling in the legs can be caused by many medical conditions, varicose veins with underlying venous insufficiency are a common cause (especially if the swelling is only on one side, or if it is always gone in the morning after an overnight sleep). If swelling exists due to venous disease, most patients have painful symptoms like throbbing and cramping and have visible varicose veins. Midwest Vein Center will perform an on-site diagnostic ultrasound along with a physical exam during your first visit to determine if swelling is caused by venous insufficiency.
4. The veins in your legs are bulging and appear blue, red or purple in color.
Sometimes, varicose veins can become swollen and irritated enough that a blood clot develops, prohibiting blood flow through the vein. This is called Superficial Thrombophlebitis and can be caused by underlying venous insufficiency. These could also be symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which can be life threatening. DVT almost always originates in the deep vein of the calf or thigh and can be accompanied by pain and swelling.
5. You have discolored, dry, itchy skin or a rash near your ankle.
If varicose veins are left untreated, the surrounding skin may begin to itch or burn and may become dry, flaky and darker in color. These skin changes are caused by high pressure in the veins from a reverse flow of blood and result in poor nutrition to the skin. The dry, itchy and discolored skin can lead to a venous leg ulcer which is very painful and difficult to heal. However, these wounds often heal quickly once the underlying problem is treated.
6. There are visible ulcerations on your leg.
Leg ulcers are also symptomatic of varicose veins that have been left untreated, especially located around the calf or ankle. Again, a diagnostic ultrasound will determine if the ulcer is caused by venous insufficiency or if it is a result of another complication, such as uncontrolled Diabetes (which would be treated by a primary care physician). If you are experiencing leg ulcers it is important that you schedule an appointment with a vein specialist before they worsen.
7. You experienced vein problems during your previous pregnancy and plan on becoming pregnant again.
Pregnancy is one of the most common causes of varicose veins due to hormonal changes and increased blood volume. Many of our female patients tell us their varicose veins appeared during their first pregnancy and worsened with each additional pregnancy.
Treatment of venous disease between pregnancies is safe, effective and can provide long term health benefits. If you’re already pregnant, get fitted for a pair of maternity compression stockings at our Midwest Vein Center locations. This will minimize the risk of DVT (Deep Venous Thrombosis) or SVT (Superficial Venous Thrombosis), and provide comfort.