Varicose veins are an unsightly problem that often keep you from wearing your favorite summer fashions. However, these veins can become more than a cosmetic nuisance if they remain unchecked. Compromised circulation in the lower leg can also lead to skin changes that may progress to open sores known as venous ulcers. While this varicose vein complication is relatively rare, it can be very serious and difficult to treat. It is important to recognize the warning signs of this problem so you can explore your options in vein treatment in the early stages of the disease.
Before you see any visible signs of leg ulcers, you may begin to feel the effects of your vein condition. Leg heaviness and aching, especially at the end of the day, are quite common. Other symptoms might include swelling of the lower leg, ankle and foot and a phenomenon known as restless leg syndrome, an unbearable urge to move the legs even at night when you are trying to go to sleep.
Physical symptoms can be accompanied by skin changes, which indicate the condition is worsening. You may see discoloration of the skin as the pigment changes to red or brown. Skin will thicken and become dry and scaly. It may feel itchy or irritated as the skin and tissue become inflamed.
For most varicose vein sufferers, these skin changes will appear gradually, over a long period of time. Others may be surprised to see the changes occur relatively quickly. No matter how quickly or slowly they develop, they may progress to more serious problems if left untreated at this stage.
Venous Ulcer Formation
Uncomfortable skin changes can lead to an even more severe complication of varicose veins, the venous ulcer. These open sores typically form around the ankle and begin as a small break in the skin that enlarges rapidly. Venous ulcers usually do not have defined edges and the inside of the sore may persistently ooze. If the area becomes infected, green or yellow discharge may be emitted.
Venous ulcers can be very difficult to treat and require special dressings that are changed regularly over an extended period of time. Even if the ulcer seems to go away completely, these sores have a high recurrence rate. This is especially true if the source of the problem, the varicose veins, are not treated at the same time as the ulceration.
At Carolina Vein Associates, we know the dangers associated with leaving varicose veins untreated. We offer a range of minimally-invasive treatment options that eliminate painful, unsightly varicose veins without a major disruption to your daily schedule. Don’t wait until your vein condition becomes severe before you seek treatment. Contact Carolina Vein Associates at 704-684-4511 to learn about your treatment options today.