Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the veins have problems sending blood from the legs back to the heart.
Normally, valves in your deeper leg veins keep blood moving forward toward the heart. With chronic venous insufficiency, vein walls are weakened and valves are damaged. This causes the veins to stay filled with blood, especially when you are standing.
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Chronic venous insufficiency is a long-term condition. It is most commonly due to malfunctioning (incompetent) valves in the veins. It may also occur as the result of a past blood clot in the legs.
Risk factors for venous insufficiency include:
- Family history of this condition
- Female gender (related to levels of the hormone progesterone)
- History of deep vein thrombosis in the legs
- Sitting or standing for a long periods
- Tall height
Symptoms of venous insufficiency can include: skin color changes around the ankles, thickening and hardening of the skin on the legs and ankles (lipodermatosclerosis), ulcers on the legs and ankles, itching and tingling and swelling of the legs.
Chronic venous insufficiency tends to get worse over time. However, it can be managed if treatment is started in the early stages. By taking self-care steps, you may be able to ease the discomfort and prevent the condition from worsening.