What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose Veins Causes: Healthy Vein Valves vs Damaged Vein Valves

To understand varicose vein causes, it’s necessary to understand how blood moves in the leg veins. The heart pumps the blood down the arteries to the legs. Healthy leg veins have one-way valves inside them that only allow blood to flow upward against gravity, towards the heart.

Under normal conditions (that is, in legs without venous insufficiency or other varicose veins causes), valves in the leg veins keep blood moving towards the heart, resisting the pull of gravity. Varicose veins develop when the one-way valves in the leg veins fail to work, allowing gravity to keep blood in the legs. The vein branches then distend and cause varicose veins, which lead to leg vein pain and other symptoms. Usually, patients with venous insufficiency note aching, heaviness, swelling, itching and even restless legs – all are common varicose vein symptoms.

Understanding Venous Insufficiency

Leg veins return blood from the lower extremities to the heart. Proper vein blood flow occurs against gravity. Pumped by the leg muscles, venous blood travels through one way valves in the leg veins which allow only upward flow toward the heart.

Venous insufficiency occurs when the one way valves fail or “leak,” allowing blood in the vein to follow gravity and flow backward toward the feet. This causes pressure to build up in the veins, distending them so that they bulge out of the surface of the skin and cause leg vein pain. Symptoms such as aching, fatigue, swelling and skin color changes can occur and worsen over time if the varicose vein causes are left untreated.