varicose veins aren't a serious medical problem, but
they sometimes can lead to complications.
- Bleeding from a varicose vein, which may occur
without an injury or after an injury to the thin skin over the varicose vein.
Bleeding can be heavy, but it can be controlled by elevating the leg and
applying pressure to the area that is bleeding.
- Blood clots or
thrombophlebitis), when a blood clot and inflammation
develop in a small vein near the surface of the skin. Unlike blood clots in
deep veins, clots in superficial veins rarely travel to the heart or lungs,
where they could cause serious blockages.
- Dry, stretched, swollen,
itching, or scaling skin.
- Thin, fragile, easily injured skin at or
above the ankle.
- Open sores (ulcers), usually near the
- Skin color changes (stasis pigmentation) around the ankles and lower legs.
- Fungal and
bacterial infections, which may arise from skin problems resulting from fluid
buildup (edema) in the leg and increased risk of tissue
Varicose veins most often are a result of problems in the
superficial veins just under the skin. But they can happen along with problems
or disease in the
deep veins and
perforating veins, which connect the deep and the
superficial veins. Complications are much more common when varicose veins are caused by
or linked with these deeper veins.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
David A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery
February 1, 2012
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