Superficial venous incompetence

What Is Superficial Venous Incompetence?

Superficial venous incompetence is a medical condition that affects the veins in the legs. The condition occurs when the valves in the veins fail to close off correctly, allowing blood to flow backward and collects in the various veins of the leg. This causes swelling, pain, and sometimes ulcers in the legs.

Symptoms of Superficial Venous Incompetence

Common symptoms of superficial venous incompetence include:

  • Swelling of the affected leg/legs which may be worse in the evenings.
  • Pain or aching sensation in the affected leg or legs.
  • Heaviness, tiredness, or cramping in the legs.
  • Varicose veins (enlarged, swollen veins).
  • A thumping or fluttering feeling in the leg.
  • Skin discoloration (dark patches of red, purple, or brown) in the area of swelling.
  • Itching or burning sensations in the affected area.
  • Skin that is warm to the touch.
  • Ulcers or sores on the skin of the affected area.

Causes of Superficial Venous Incompetence

The exact cause of superficial venous incompetence is unknown, but it is likely related to a combination of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and medical conditions. Some possible contributing factors include:

  • Age-related changes (venous walls become less elastic).
  • Pregnancy, which increases blood volume and pressure in the veins.
  • Obesity.
  • Certain medications (such as hormone replacement therapy and hormone supplements).
  • Long periods of sitting or standing.
  • Congenital venous defects (abnormalities present at birth).
  • Trauma (such as a deep vein thrombosis or an injury).
  • History of blood clots.

Diagnosis of Superficial Venous Incompetence

To diagnose superficial venous incompetence, a medical professional may perform a physical examination and ask questions about your medical history. They may also order tests such as a Doppler ultrasound or a venous duplex scan to look for blockages or malfunctioning valves in the veins.

Treatment of Superficial Venous Incompetence

Treatments for superficial venous incompetence vary depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s individual circumstances. Treatment options include:

  • Leg elevation – This can help reduce swelling and decrease pain.
  • Compression stockings – These can help increase circulation in the legs.
  • Antibiotic ointments – To help treat any open sores or ulcers.
  • Sclerotherapy – This involves injecting a medication into the veins to help close them off and reduce swelling.
  • Surgery – This is usually reserved for more severe cases.
  • Exercise – This can help increase blood flow and reduce swelling.