Varicose Veins are enlarged branches of the superficial leg veins. Normal blood flow in the superficial veins is uphill and controlled by one-way valves but in some people these valves fail (valvular incompetence) allowing blood to flow backwards downhill (venous reflux) increasing the pressure in the vein and causing the veins to distend and become larger, longer and more tortuous (varicose veins). Varicose Veins mainly affect the long saphenous vein (medial thigh and medial calf), but can also affect the short saphenous vein (posterior calf).
Varicose Veins can cause symptoms of pain, ankle swelling and itch.
Varicose Veins can be complicated by Brown Staining of the Skin (Haemosiderin Pigmentation), Varicose Eczema, Lipodermatosclerosis, Varicose Leg Ulcers, Thrombophlebitis (Superficial Venous Thrombosis) and Deep Vein Thrombosis.