Varicose veins are dilated veins that have lost their valve effectiveness and become elongated, bulged and thickened. Veins carry blood from the capillaries to the heart. In the leg, this means the blood has to flow upward, against gravity. These veins have one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing backwards. Over time these valves may fail to close tightly, a condition know as venous insufficiency. When a valve does not close tightly, the blood flows backward and pools, causing the veins to bulge and twist. Venous insufficiency of the saphenous vein is often the cause of varicose veins.
Common symptoms for varicose veins may include:
- Leg pain
In more severe cases, varicose veins can lead to skin changes resulting in: