Varicose veins of the lower extremities - symptoms, causes and treatment features

Heaviness in the legs with varicose veins

Varicose veins are a chronic pathology of blood vessels, as a result of which the walls of the veins become deformed, weakened and expanded. Dystonia of the vessel walls leads to dysfunction of the venous valves. The general complex of diseases negatively affects the entire cardiovascular activity of the body. In the world classification of diseases, varicose veins have the following position: ICD code (varicose veins of the lower extremities) - 183. 0-183. 9.

general information

Varicose veins of the lower extremities are a common and long-standing disease of mankind. They came across pathology in ancient Egypt and even then tried to treat it. The great scientists of the past were interested in the problems of the vessels: Hippocrates, Avicenna and other luminaries. Nowadays the disease has not lost its relevance and has even "rejuvenated" it. According to statistics, middle-aged women are the most susceptible to vascular pathologies. Men suffer from this disease much less often.

The name of the disease is derived from the word varix (Latin), which translates as "expansion". The disease has a chronic course and a cure is not yet possible. The vessels of the lower extremities are most often affected, since it is in this part of the body that the main load on the outflow of blood occurs.


Modern medicine has no clear-cut judgment on what causes varicose veins. Factors that provoke the onset of pathology are known:

  • Weakening and deformation of the veins;
  • Vascular valve dysfunction;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • Loss of elasticity of the vessel walls of the entire venous structure.
Heels are the cause of varicose veins

Factors that stimulate lower extremity varicose veins:

  • Disposition (inheritance). Varicose veins are caused by mutations in the gene that is responsible for the structure of the vessel walls, the number of valves and their function. The mutation is inherited, most family members suffer from the disease, have high blood pressure.
  • Blood clotting pathologies - hypercoagulability. The disease progresses with the formation of blood clots, which obstruct the flow of blood through the vessels.
  • Hormonal changes. As a result of this factor, vein diseases occur in women during pregnancy or during menopause. During pregnancy, the amount of the hormone progesterone increases, and estrogen significantly decreases, which leads to an increase in the rate of blood clotting, a decrease in venous tone and the formation of blood clots, as well as deformation of blood vessels.
  • Obesity. An obese patient cannot move fully, which slows down many processes, including blood circulation. Excess body fat leads to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. These and several other factors disrupt the physiological circulation, the outflow of blood through the veins is obstructed, stagnation occurs, which provokes the appearance of thrombophlebitis, changes in the vascular walls and varicose veins.
  • Diabetes mellitus. High levels of glucose damage the walls of blood vessels and contribute to the formation of blood clots.
  • Alcoholism. Alcohol in high doses dehydrates the body and leads to thrombophlebitis.
  • Heavy physical work, standing or sitting work. The working conditions provoke an increase in pressure, a circulatory disorder and stagnation in the lower extremities.
  • Chronic constipation causes an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, a destructive outflow of blood from the legs.
  • Imbalanced diet. The low content of vitamins, biologically active substances and plant fibers in the food helps to weaken the vascular tone.
  • Tight clothing and underwear cause constant compression of the veins, which makes it difficult for blood to flow.
  • High-heeled shoes impair the functioning of the venous valves and the flow of blood through the vessels.
  • Insufficient water intake during the hot season dehydrates the tissues, thickens the blood and leads to the formation of blood clots.
  • Chronic myocardial pathology, kidney disease.
  • Constant use of a number of drugs, the side effect of which is blood clotting.
  • Surgical interventions and their consequences, plaster fixation of the extremity, etc.


World medicine has varicose veins the code (according to ICD-10) 183. 0-183. 9 and considers several stages of the disease, namely:

  • Zero - the clinical picture is not visible, the diagnosis does not show any abnormalities, the patient complains of vague sensations in the legs (heaviness, periodic swelling, fatigue after a short walk).
  • The first is the appearance and spread of spider veins, a burning sensation in the muscles, cramps during the night's rest.
  • The second - to the already existing symptoms, itching, pigmentation of the areas of the skin in the affected area, numbness, severe pain appear with swelling of the legs, the nodes (cones) of the veins become noticeable.
  • Thirdly, the veins lose their tone, the skin in the places of vascular lesions tears, darkens, the ankles acquire a brown or bluish tint. The cones of veins are pronounced, their slight violation can lead to the destruction of the walls of the swollen vessels. If an injury has occurred, a trophic ulcer forms at this point, fraught with infection, suppuration, and ultimately amputation of the limb.

This classification is not used by all doctors, because a chronic disease necessarily goes through all stages. The task of the specialist is to delay the onset of the next stage in the development of the pathology as long as possible, and also to use those methods of therapy or operation that do not involve the subsequent stage of the disease.

Possible problems

Complications of varicose veins of the lower extremities are diverse in their manifestations and catch any patient who neglects treatment. The extreme manifestation of pathology is death.

Varicose veins in the legs

Varicose veins of the lower extremities are a sluggish, chronic condition that requires conservative management. The lack of adequate medical care leads to the following consequences:

  • Blood clots.
  • Pigmentation of the skin, the appearance of seals on the affected area.
  • Detachment of a thrombus with subsequent migration into the bloodstream, which leads to a blockage of the vessel.
  • Trophic ulcers, dermatitis, eczema. Diseases are caused by circulatory disorders, inadequate nutrition, lack of oxygen in the cells.
  • Thrombophlebitis.
  • Swelling of the legs. The tissue at the site of the lesion swells, takes on a bluish tint, the patient feels discomfort, pulling pain, and feels excessive pressure in the limbs.
  • Thromboembolism, when a detached blood clot reaches the pulmonary artery. If the diameter of the artery and the thrombus match, it will become blocked and the patient may die. When the clot continues to move through the circulatory system of the lungs, edema, a pulmonary infarction, occurs.

A lack of treatment or an incorrectly chosen therapeutic strategy quickly leads to manifestations of complications. The disease is treated with conservative methods, strictly observing the recommendations of a specialist, which include a number of measures.


Varicose veins of the lower extremities gradually seize the body, a person does not notice their primary manifestations, writes off the symptoms for a hard day, long walks or too much drinking. The appearance of the following signs, such as a vascular network, is most often viewed as a troublesome aesthetic defect, but all these small difficulties are the first signs of the need for a diagnosis.

Leg pain with varicose veins

The clinic for varicose veins of the lower extremities has a specific picture, stages of development and course. Various instruments are used to make a diagnosis. The patient understands that the disease overwhelms him with the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Occurrence of heaviness, extreme tiredness in the legs at the end of the day, even though no long walks, no lifting of weights or physical exertion have taken place.
  • Feeling that blood is flowing through the veins too hot, swelling is observed, the color of the feet changes, a feeling of expansion of the feet and calves occurs.
  • Muscle cramps occur in the legs at night and in the evening.
  • Veins are visible under the skin, some have a puffy condition.
  • The skin on the legs darkens, it also changes color over the localization of the affected vessels, the veins become weaker, and venous bumps, seals, wounds and ulcers appear on the legs.

If there is any minor symptom at all, it is necessary to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Methods of diagnosing pathology

Varicose veins of the lower extremities can affect both external and deep vessels. Diagnostic measures are prescribed by a vascular surgeon or phlebologist. To determine the presence of a pathology and the degree of development of the disease, the specialist conducts a series of tests, external and hardware examinations.

Diagnosis of varicose veins of the lower extremities is carried out using the following methods:

  • Function tests for the patency of blood flow and determination of the working capacity of the venous valves. Dish tests from Sheinis, Delbe-Perthes, Pratt are used. The most commonly used test is the Troyanov-Trendelenburg test. In the supine position, the patient raises the leg to a low height, which facilitates the outflow of blood. Then the doctor places a tourniquet in the upper part of the thigh, prompts the patient to assume an upright position, and quickly removes the tourniquet. The normal is the filling of the vessels of the lower leg with blood for 15 seconds. A prolonged process indicates impaired blood circulation.
  • Duplex ultrasound examination (angiography) - assessment of blood flow in each specific line, visual examination of the veins on the monitor.
  • Doppler ultrasound - tracking blood flow in a vessel.
  • Phlebography is an examination of the circulatory system with intravenous administration of contrast agents, the study of the condition of the veins with X-rays.
  • Phleboscintigraphy - the introduction of a specialty pharmacological drug into a vein and examination of the condition of blood vessels using devices.
  • Visual diagnosis and palpation - the method is used to examine the condition of superficial veins.

In addition to an extensive examination of the blood lines, varicose veins of the lower extremities are examined by laboratory tests of the blood condition for coagulability, composition, hormone status and other indicators.

Ultrasound diagnosis of varicose veins


One of the most commonly diagnosed diseases of the blood vessels today is varicose veins of the lower extremities. How to treat the consequences of the disease, or rather, how to prevent the development of the pathology to the last stage? By consulting a doctor who knows various methods and uses them effectively. Why the disease occurs and how to safely avoid its occurrence is still unknown.

The main treatment methods:

  1. Medication. A number of drugs can improve the elasticity of the vessel walls, normalize the functioning of the venous valves, and prevent blood clots from forming. As effective means, ointments, creams, anticoagulants are used.
  2. Traditional medicine, used in combination with traditional therapy, gives positive results to reduce the manifestations and progression of pathology.
  3. Normalization of the daily routine and compliance with some rules of behavior: getting up slowly, sleeping at night with raised legs at a soft height, avoiding high-heeled shoes, transition to a slower gait. It is also recommended that you avoid crossing your legs when sitting in a chair. It is also recommended that patients use elastic bandages and compression clothing.
  4. Diet therapy. Refusal of foods that lead to blood clots, delicacies, smoked foods, pickles, fried foods, etc. Introducing a large amount of fresh and processed vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins C, E, P, bioflavonoids, and copper. It is recommended to drink enough water.

As additional measures to normalize the condition of the blood vessels, moderate sports are recommended: swimming, cycling, skiing. Alternating showers are useful to stimulate blood circulation, foot baths with healing decoctions: oak bark, horse chestnut, chamomile, St. John's wort. Increase the tone of blood vessels by rubbing them with alcoholic tinctures of Kalanchoe leaves, inflorescences of white acacia, lilac, etc. Some experts advise treating varicose veins of the lower extremities with simultaneous thrombophlebitis with medicinal leeches.


At a certain stage in the development of the pathology, surgical intervention is required to get rid of the already occurring consequences of varicose veins of the lower extremities.

operative treatment of varicose veins

The operation is performed using the following methods:

  1. Phlebectomy (implemented with extensive venous damage, trophic manifestations of the disease, acute thrombophlebitis). Indicated for deep vein surgery of the legs. Contraindications to behavior are ischemic myocardial disease, inflammatory processes at the stage of exacerbation, pregnancy.
  2. Laser therapy is used for concomitant diseases of the patient (myocardial ischemia, high blood pressure, phlebitis, bronchial asthma, traumatic brain injury, kidney diseases, boils). Contraindications: neoplasms, liver diseases, pregnancy, cerebral sclerosis.
  3. Radiofrequency ablation is performed in patients with both saphenous pathology complicated by trophic ulcers. The method is not used in pregnancy, mental illness, acute thrombophlebitis of the external veins.
  4. Sclerotherapy. This surgical method is available for varicose veins of the lower extremities with slight vascular lesions.

Surgical intervention is the only way to avoid extreme manifestations of the pathology. Operations on varicose veins of the lower extremities are performed in cases when complications endanger the patient's life or require the elimination of a cosmetic defect (in the early stages of the disease).

Creams and ointments

External means, such as creams and ointments, at the initial stage of the development of the disease, successfully help in the treatment of varicose veins of the lower extremities (according to ICD-10: 183. 0-183. 9). These drugs help achieve the following results:

  • Reduce pain and swelling;
  • to increase the functionality of the venous valves;
  • improve vascular tone;
  • partially restore healthy blood flow;
  • prevent the occurrence of complications.

Before starting independent treatment for varicose veins (enlarged veins of the lower extremities), a comprehensive diagnosis is required to identify the cause of the disease. In therapy, it is worth following the doctor's recommendations, which pay attention to stopping the main problem and reducing the likelihood of consequences. The specialist prescribes physiotherapy, drugs, ointments, advises recipes for traditional medicine and adjusts the course of treatment and makes the necessary changes.

Treatment of varicose veins with ointment

Warn and neutralize

Varicose veins of the lower extremities is a disease that requires constant attention and effort from the patient to avoid complications. Therefore, preventive measures are of great importance in this context.

The prevention of varicose veins of the lower extremities follows a certain set of rules, which ultimately leads to a lifestyle in which there is no unnecessary physical and emotional stress, bad habits and natural products are preferred in the diet.


  • Wear clothes of your size and avoid over-tensing your lower body.
  • Prefer comfortable shoes with low heels.
  • Organize the workflow so that you regularly straighten your legs.
  • Balance your diet by including fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Take a vitamin complex in the off-season.
  • Avoid gaining weight.
  • Do regular physical exercises that put stress on the legs: cycling, swimming, hiking, skiing. Avoid undue stress in the classroom.
  • Use curing methods (contrast shower) for water treatments.

The doctor will recommend physiotherapy in the general complex of the treatment process. The patient should clarify whether a massage with varicose veins of the lower extremities is possible. Some doctors believe that massage is beneficial in the early stages of the disease, when it is aimed at improving blood circulation. At all subsequent stages of the pathology, this type of procedure is prohibited due to the possible separation of a blood clot.

Compression stockings for varicose veins

Tinctures and compresses

Proven traditional medicine recipes offer a huge variety of remedies for treating the disease. Doctors recommend using them in complex therapy, some formulations bring tangible benefits.

Popular tinctures and ointments:

  • Alcohol tincture from purple inflorescences. Opened fresh lilac flowers are poured into a dark glass bottle (up to halfway) and poured upwards with alcohol or vodka. The composition is prepared during the week, during which time it is necessary to periodically shake the jar. The tense tincture is used to gently grind the legs. The composition helps to relieve swelling, pain, eliminate or reduce cramps.
  • Garlic ointment. Peel the head (medium), grind to a pulp and mix with high quality butter in a ratio of 1: 2. A compress is formed from the resulting ointment and applied to the legs all night. Relieves pain, swelling, disinfects, heals wounds.
  • Compress the potato. Grate raw potatoes, squeeze out excess juice. The resulting mass in the form of a compress is applied to the affected areas (from 20 minutes or for the entire night's rest). Relieves pain, fever, removes pigment spots, soothes skin irritations.
Exercise on an ergometer to prevent varicose veins

Unfortunately, varicose veins of the lower extremities (with ICD code 10: 183. 0-183. 9) cannot be completely cured. However, it is within the power of each individual to create conditions in which the course of the disease is not complicated by extreme pathological manifestations.