Leg pain due to venous insufficiency can range from a vague, dull discomfort to a frank, throbbing soreness or sharp piercing pain. Unlike the majority of conditions affecting the lower extremities, pain caused by venous insufficiency does not correlate with physical activity. In fact, it is usually brought on or worsened by periods of decreased mobility, especially while standing but also while lying down. In most cases the leg pain improves with walking, since contractions of the leg muscles help to move the blood up out of the legs.
However, the venous pain will typically increase throughout the day and is more severe in hot weather. One of the hallmarks of venous insufficiency is leg pain during the first few steps, which diminishes with continued walking but comes back with prolonged walking. This pain is called “venous claudication” and gradually increases in the ankles, while being relieved by sitting down to rest, as opposed to “arterial claudication” which is characterized by a sudden cramping of the calf muscles.
Persistent pain as well as night pain is an indicator of “trophic changes,” or pathological developments in the tissue structure. This is an indication of venous insufficiency that has gone untreated for a long time. Whereas in the earlier stages of the disease pain can be relieved by rest and limb elevation, in the later stages trophic changes lead to sensory neuropathy, or damage of the nerve receptors. This damage can cause a variety of sensations – from dull, blunted pain to severe pain like burning. Left untreated, this tenderness can give way to decreased sensation and eventually numbness.
Leg pain of superficial venous insufficiency, just like any other type of pain, is a part of our defense mechanism—, a signal that our body sends to our brain indicating the location and degree of damage. That is why, as with any symptom, it is incorrect to treat only the pain rather than the pathological condition responsible for it.
New York Vein Treatment Center focuses on treating this and other symptoms and complications of venous disorders. We have helped thousands of patients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, as well as the surrounding New York area. Contact us to schedule your consultation.
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