Varicose Veins in the Feet- What is the Cause?
Varicose veins in the feet are bulging veins that run just beneath the surface of the skin. They are engorged, twisted, & typically dark blue in appearance. Varicose veins can be found anywhere on your body but occur most commonly in the legs & feet. While varicose veins do not usually warrant a cause for serious medical concern, they can be unsightly, uncomfortable, & a point of insecurity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what causes varicose veins in the feet.
How do Veins & Valves Work?
Varicose veins are the result of malfunctioning valves inside of the unhealthy vein. Your veins work together with your arteries in a seamless circulatory process to deliver oxygenated blood to your body tissue. Your veins take oxygen deficient blood to your heart, where it is re-oxygenated & redistributed by your arteries. Veins use one-way valves to deliver blood to your heart. Overtime, veins can become weak or damaged. When the valves malfunction, blood is not pushed back towards the heart. Instead, unhealthy valves cause blood to flow backward. The blood then pools & causes varicose veins in the feet.
Why are Varicose Veins in the Feet so Common?
With over 40 million Americans currently suffering from varicose veins, there is no doubt that this disease is extremely common, especially in the feet. Varicose Veins in the feet are so common because your feet are battling gravity. Unlike other parts of your body (i.e. arms or abdomen), your feet are working against gravity to receive proper blood flow. Because your feet are closest to the ground, gravity pulls blood back where it is more susceptible to pooling. This can damage & put pressure on the valves in your veins. As blood and pressure accumulates in your valves, varicose veins in the feet occur.
Risk Factors Associated with Varicose Veins in the Feet
Varicose veins arise because of the increased pressure in damaged venous valves. As such, there are certain factors that can put you at an increased risk for developing varicose veins in the feet. While some are controllable & others are not, familiarizing yourself with them now can help to prevent the disease from developing or progressing.
Age: The older you get, the more likely you are to develop varicose veins in the feet. In fact, 50% of Americans over age 50 have varicose veins.
Family History: Having a family history of varicose veins puts you at great risk for developing the condition. If both of your parents have varicose veins, your chances of developing them can be as high as 90%.
Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins. They can be seen in about 55% of women and 45% of men.
Sedentary Lifestyle: Extended periods of sitting or standing puts pressure on your veins & promotes stagnant blood flow. Nursing, hairstyling, truck driving, & teaching are some of the most common professions associated with developing varicose veins.
Obesity: The added weight your body needs to carry puts extra pressure on your valves, thus making you more likely to develop varicose veins. In fact, women with a BMI of 30 or higher are three times as likely to develop varicose veins. Regular exercise & eating a balanced diet can help you to maintain a healthy weight.
At Pedes Orange County we treat the entire venous system. Varicose veins are commonly an indication that there are diseased veins throughout the entire venous system. Our treatment offerings target unhealthy veins in the entire venous system.
Think of your veins like a tree, your deep veins are the tree trunk & your superficial veins are the branches of the tree. If the trunk is sick, the branches are weak. It is common to encounter facilities that only treat your superficial veins & ignore treating the deep veins. At Pedes Orange County we provide the most comprehensive and durable treatment for veins. By targeting treatment to both the deep & superficial veins, you can regain your confidence again! Our Vascular Specialists treat varicose veins in the feet & other parts of the body through the following, minimally invasive methods.
Treating Varicose Veins in the Feet at Pedes Orange County
During a Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), a Vascular Specialist utilizes high-frequency radio waves directed through a catheter to create intense heat within the varicose vein. Your body eventually absorbs the varicose vein after it closes & scars. This will eliminate bulging of the varicose veins & the discomfort associated with those veins.
We also treat varicose veins with a venaseal. A Vascular Specialist injects a small amount of a specially formulated medical adhesive to seal, or close, the diseased vein. The body then dissolves the vein.
Laser treatment is a non-invasive method that delivers laser energy in short bursts. The blood vessels absorb the energy, which causes the vein to shrink to disappear. There is no downtime and minimal post-procedure pain.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure in which we inject solutions into the veins that causes the veins to close off, scar & disappear. This generally involves multiple treatments over the course of several months.
Don’t let unsightly varicose veins in the feet be a point of insecurity for you anymore. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, call our office today!