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When a patient complains about a persistent ache or throbbing in a leg, a vein specialist asks questions about a possible link to a sports injury or other event. When there is no obvious reason for the discomfort, the physician might suspect that the individual suffers from chronic venous insufficiency.
A vein’s job is transporting blood from internal organs and extremities to the heart. The legs are the most common areas where problems arise. One-way valves in veins help transport blood upward toward the heart. When they are damaged or malfunctioning, they cannot shut properly. Blood leaks back into the vein. The vessel stays full of blood, especially when an individual is standing, according to MedlinePlus. The result is venous insufficiency, which over time can become chronic. A less-common cause is a prior blood clot in the affected limb. The University of Chicago Medicine cites these classic symptoms:
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the following are risk factors:
Fortunately, there are many options for treating chronic venous insufficiency. The best one depends on the condition causing the insufficiency, the patient’s overall health, and the individual’s preference. The University of Chicago Medicine cites these main categories:
Most patients do require treatment. However, self-care measures during the early stages of chronic venous insufficiency can sometimes reduce discomfort and prevent the condition from worsening.
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