It is a common condition where narrowed arteries in the leg or legs prevent regular blood flow. This usually causes pain and/or cramping in the muscles of the hip, thigh or calf when walking or exercising. The pain can go away when resting, but will return with exercise and movement. If left untreated, the narrowed arteries prevent blood flow to the leg or legs, and can essentially “choke” the leg. This can cause the skin to change color, difficulty walking, ulcers and sores on the leg and foot, and lead to gangrene and possible amputation.
It occurs when the valves in the veins are not functioning properly (or insufficient), and the blood which should be going back to the heart pools in the legs. This can also be caused by compression of veins in the pelvis, which causes back-pressure. These conditions result in back-pressure in the veins, which causes spider veins, varicose veins, swelling, skin discoloration, and in more severe cases, ulceration.
People mostly know varicose veins as the large, bumpy veins seen snaking down the leg. These enlarged veins are caused when the valves in the veins–that help move the blood from the feet back upward toward the heart—don’t work properly. This causes blood to pool in that area, causing the varicose veins to grow. For many people, the only problem with varicose veins is cosmetic: they don’t like the way it looks. For some, however, the varicose veins cause aching pain and discomfort, bruising, heavy and itchy legs, and swelling.