Four not-so-obvious signs venous insufficiency is causing your leg problems.

Most people associate “having a vein problem” with bulging varicose veins and zig-zaggy spider veins. But there are less obvious symptoms and conditions, including restless legs, night cramps, ankle discoloration (“brown ankles”), and ankle ulcers that often go undiagnosed or are treated improperly or not at all because venous insufficiency is not considered as a possible source of the problem.  

Restless legs is mainly characterized by the irresistible urge to move the legs, accompanied by unusual or unpleasant sensations, such as creeping, pulling, and tugging.  Nighttime cramps (“charley horses”) are sudden spasms or tightening of the calf muscles, thigh or foot. Both tend to strike just as you are dozing off or just waking up.

When venous insufficiency – the backward flow of blood through the veins — is left unchecked, pressure within the vein walls can build to a point where red blood cells come apart and the iron in the hemoglobin “stains” the delicate, thinner skin in the ankle area, causing it to turn brown or red. Left unchecked, the area becomes itchy, dry and prone to infection, which leads to ulcer formation. Unfortunately, it is often not until venous insufficiency has progressed to this stage that it is finally diagnosed.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, a simple ultrasound of your legs can determine if venous insufficiency is present or not. Today’s highly efficient, minimally invasive procedures target the insufficiency at its source to immediately relieve you of your symptoms and restore vein health.