Signs & Symptoms

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Vein Disease

Disease of veins, also known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) results in near constant high pressures within the superficial veins of the leg. The result is the development of varicose veins leading to a low level of chronic inflammation in the vein itself and surrounding tissues. In many patients, this inflammation eventually causes characteristic changes or signs seen on the skin. In addition, patients begin to relate a variety of complaints referable to their legs.

One early CVI sign is a single bulge or cluster of varicose veins, elevating the skin, often appearing snake like in configuration. The inner and front sides of the thigh or leg are typical locations for varicose veins initially, but the lower buttock, and knee areas also can develop these abnormalities. Often, patients have no symptoms despite the size and unsightliness of these structures. Sometimes, patients complain of throbbing , aching, heavy legs, or swelling of the foot and ankle that resolves overnight. Occasionally, itching above the ankles without an obvious reason or outward signs of enlarged veins is due to venous disease. A more peculiar but not uncommon complaint is “restless legs”. When in bed, patients report an inability to keep their legs still! They feel a wormy , tingly and itchy sensation, which prevents sleep.

More advanced symptoms or signs are development of dark skin pigmentation on the inner side of the legs in the vicinity of the ankles. Often associated with swelling of the ankle and foot, this development can progress to a reddening of the skin, local infection, weeping and even ulcer (breakdown of the skin) development.

Many of these signs and symptoms can be seen individually and can suggest a different diagnosis all together! A thorough history and physical exam taken by a vein specialist surgeon, like Dr. Dworkin, are the most essential first steps in determining if your symptoms or leg changes are due to vein disease. An ultrasound exam of the legs, performed in the offices of Vein Specialists of Tampa by our Registered Vascular Technologists and Dr. Dworkin will further help us determine how best to help you.