Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)  affects nearly 40% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50.  Varicose veins (and or spider veins) develop due to weakness of the vein wall.  In addition, the valves of the veins may no longer work properly.  These conditions may result in leg heaviness, aching, cramping, and tiredness.  Foot and/or leg pain may occur during long periods of standing or sitting.  Ulcerations (particularly of the inside of the ankle) may occur and the ankle and/or leg may present with swelling.  In addition, skin changes, especially tender, warm reddish skin or blotchy dark red or purplish hued skin discoloration may occur.  A simple PPG probe and computer software to measure the venous functions of the feet and legs.  CVI can be early diagnosed if the waveforms are abnormal.

If they are present, the typical signs and symptoms of the disease include:

Claudication – fatigue, heaviness, tiredness, cramping in the leg muscles (buttocks, thigh, or calf) that occurs during activity such as walking or climbing stairs.  This pain or discomfort goes away once the activity is stopped and during rest.  Many people do not report this problem to their health care providers because they think it is a natural part of aging or due to some other cause.

  • Pain in the legs and/or feet that disturbs sleep.
  • Sores or wounds on toes, feet, or legs that heal slowly, poorly, or not at all.
  • Color changes in the skin of the feet, including paleness or blueness.
  • A lower temperature in one leg compared to the other leg.
  • Poor nail growth and decreased hair growth on toes and legs.

However, most people with P.A.D. do not experience symptoms.