Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

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Learn more about Chronic Venous Insufficiency


Healthy leg veins have valves that keep blood flowing to the heart.  Vein disease develops when the valves stop working properly and allow blood to flow backward (i.e., reflux) and pool in the lower leg veins.

What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a condition where the valves in your veins don’t work as they should.  It affects the veins in your legs, causing blood to pool and put increased pressure on the walls of the veins.  CVI is common among people who are middle-aged or older.  It’s also more common in women, especially if you’ve had multiple pregnancies.

Mild cases can be treated effectively, however, long term neglect and progression of the condition can lead to the build-up of pressure which can result in swelling.

Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)

Most CVI symptoms are mild but you may notice them more after you’ve been standing for any time.  This is because the vein valves are not working properly to help pump the blood away from your legs.  You might notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Heaviness, swelling, burning or pain in the affected limb

  • A darkening of the skin due to blood pooling in the area

  • An open sore or ulcer may develop (usually on the inside of the ankle) that is difficult to heal

  • Dermatitis as a result of changes to the underlying tissues

  • Enlarged and twisted veins close to the surface of the skin (Varicose Veins) which is usually a sign of a milder form of venous disease

Causes Of Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)

Chronic venous insufficiency is a result of malfunctioning of the venous valves in the lower legs.  The weakened valves are unable to pump blood against the pull of gravity.

This leads to the blood sinking back and results in pools of blood being accumulated in the legs.  Some of the most commonly known factors leading to weakness in the venous valves include:

  • Pre-existing conditions or congenital defects that can lead to some patients having inherently weak venous vessels can lead to an increased risk of CVI.
  • Leg Vein Thrombosis also called Phlebothrombosis, a condition where blood clots form in the vein and can increase chances of CVI.
  • Inherently weak muscles in the lower legs that result in weak pressure to push the blood against gravity.
  • Other factors such as stressful and physically intense activity can lead to the weakening of the blood vessel valves.
  • Long term stress on the feet typically experienced by patients who spend a lot of time standing on their feet due to the nature of their work.  For example, people working in the hospitality and retail industry.
  • Being overweight or obese can lead to increased pressure on the legs that can lead to developing CVI.

It is highly recommended that patients seek medical attention at the first sign of symptoms associated with CVI.  In the long term, patients are at risk of serious damage to their blood vessels, which may require surgery one day.

If the blood flow is disturbed, this always has far-reaching consequences that can affect the entire body.  However, the course can be stopped or at least slowed down by early treatment and training.  An early diagnosis is the best prognosis.

Are you suffering from this condition?  At The Chelsea Clinic, we can help.  One of our podiatrist can assist and then recommend what treatments are best to get you back on track.  Podiatrist South Kensington
Schedule an appointment here or you may call us at +44 (0) 207 101 4000



We hope you have a feetastic day!

-The Chelsea Clinic and Team



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