Can Varicose Veins Cause Pain and Discomfort?



Who gets varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged veins with a rope-like appearance. They’re usually purple or blue in color, occur right beneath your skin, and typically affect your legs and feet.

Up to 23 percent of all adults are affected by this venous disease in the U.S. About 33 million of these people are older, with ages ranging between 40 and 80.

Varicose veins are caused by malfunctioning valves in your veins that are unable to bring blood back to your heart effectively as they work against gravity.

Symptoms of varicose veins

For some, varicose veins are only a cosmetic concern. There is no evidence of a direct link between the appearance of varicose veins and the discomfort they cause. In fact, the large, twisting veins may cause no discomfort whatsoever, while damaged veins that are less visible can become extremely painful.

In general, various symptoms contribute to the overall feeling of pain and discomfort:

  • feeling of heavy, achy legs
  • muscle cramps
  • feeling of throbbing and burning in your legs
  • swelling in your calves and around your ankles
  • discomfort around a particular area of veins

All these symptoms usually become more bothersome during warm days. Blood vessels have a tendency to dilate with higher temperatures, which makes it even harder for the valves to function properly. The symptoms also worsen as the day progresses and more blood pools around your ankles. Prolonged periods of sitting or standing are also considered aggravating factors and can result in pain.

How to get relief from varicose vein pain

There are several ways to relieve pain caused by varicose veins.

Elevate your legs

For immediate relief from the pain and discomfort associated with varicose veins, elevate your legs above your heart. You can place your feet up on a table, stretch them up a wall, or lie down in bed and rest your legs on three or four pillows. This will help make it easier for blood flow in your lower body to circulate toward the heart, and the venous valves will function more effectively.