Among the symptoms of venous disease is chronic leg pain, particularly pain during walking that stops with rest. This leg pain may be associated with tight feeling calves and, swelling in your legs and/or ankles. Along with the pain, you may experience discoloration and/or warmth to the touch in the tender area. If you are having this type of chronic leg pain, it could be a sign of venous disease1.
Risk Factors of Venous Disease
In order to assess whether or not your chronic leg pain is a sign of venous disease, it is important to understand the risk of venous disease. With age being a risk factor, you are at a greater risk if you are older. Additionally, a family history of venous disease, obesity, and pregnancy can all cause you to be at a greater risk2.
If you believe you may have a higher risk of disease, it is important to maintain a habit of physical activity, such as establishing a walking routine. If you find yourself either standing or sitting for long periods of time in a state of inactivity, that can increase your risk. Lastly, some studies suggest that if you have had previous incidences of venous disease, you may be four times as likely to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as a blood clot3.
If you are experiencing chronic leg pain along with one or more of these risk factors, contact your doctor to get a correct diagnosis. Diagnosis may include a physical examination accompanied by diagnostic procedures such as a duplex ultrasound or venogram1.
If you fear you might be at a higher risk for venous disease, there are things you can do to help manage that risk. Essentially, you want to do what you can to make sure the risk factors do not apply to you. It is important to maintain a healthy body weight, especially in conjunction with regular exercise and an active lifestyle. If you are in a situation that requires you to sit or stand for long periods of time, be sure to move around every two to three hours to increase your blood flow. It is also important to refrain from smoking, as that can be a risk factor.
Many patients find success with compression stockings, which can help to decrease swelling, increase blood flow, and can help with the pain4. These can be especially useful if you have recently had surgery, or some other situation that requires you to be inactive for long periods of time. 5.
In some situations, chronic leg pain can be a sign of venous disease. If you are suffering from pain, consult your doctor for a full diagnosis, particularly if the risk factors apply to your current situation.
1 – Chronic Venous Insufficiency. Johns Hopkins Clinic. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/chronic_venous_insufficiency_85,P08250/ Accessed November 7, 2015.
2 – Dr Deepak Sudheendra. Venous insuffiency. US National Library of Medicine, updated 2014 May 27.
3 – Dr John Heit, et al. Risk Factors for Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism. Arch Internal Med, 2000 March 27: 809-815.
4 – Chronic Venous Insufficiency. The University of Chicago Medicine. Available at: http://www.uchospitals.edu/online-library/content=P08250 . Accessed on November 7, 2015.
5 – What is a Stent? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/stents . Accessed on November 7, 2015.