- What are chronic venous insufficiency and postphlebitic syndrome?
- What causes chronic venous insufficiency?
- What are the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency?
- How can doctors tell if I have chronic venous insufficiency?
- How do doctors treat chronic venous insufficiency?
- How can I prevent chronic venous insufficiency?
- Resources In This Article
Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Postphlebitic Syndrome
Chronic venous insufficiency is damage to your leg veins that keeps your blood from flowing normally.
Phlebitis is inflammation of one of your veins. It's often caused by a blood clot in your vein. Postphlebitic syndrome is a problem that happens after you've had phlebitis.
Chronic venous insufficiency may cause pain or aching, swelling, skin rash, leg sores, and changes in how your leg looks
Doctors do ultrasound to look at blood flow in your leg veins to tell if you have chronic venous insufficiency
To treat chronic venous insufficiency, keep your leg raised, wear compression stockings, and carefully treat any skin sores
The main cause of chronic venous insufficiency is:
Having had a blood clot in your legs (deep vein thrombosis)
A blood clot in your vein can cause scarring and problems with the valves in the vein. The valves are 2 flaps of tissue that act like one-way gates. They let blood flow only in one direction, toward your heart. If the valves are damaged, blood collects in your legs. Damage to the valves after having a blood clot in a vein can cause leg problems called postphlebitic syndrome.
One-Way Valves in the Veins
You have a higher chance of having chronic venous insufficiency if you:
Symptoms may include:
Leg swelling that usually gets better after you’ve been lying down for several hours
Varicose veins (swollen veins in your legs that you can often see as bulges under your skin)
Scaly, itchy skin on the inside of your ankle—the skin may turn reddish-brown
If you have severe venous insufficiency:
Resting your leg and raising it above your heart—you'll do this for a half hour or longer, at least 3 times per day
Compressing (squeezing) your leg using elastic bandages, special stockings, or air-filled wraps connected to a machine that squeezes your legs from time to time
Taking good care of any skin sores
Your doctor may use bandages that have medicine in them to help the skin sores heal.
Making changes in your life can help, such as:
If you've had deep vein thrombosis, your doctor may prescribe blood-thinning medicines to prevent postphlebitic syndrome.