<< What is Venous Insufficiency? >>


Let's learn about venous insufficiency with this video!


Here is a bit more explanation about venous insufficiency and swelling. 


Oxygenated blood is pushed off from a strong pump, the heart, to the entire body with the help of a high pressure force. Blood flows to the tissues where metabolic activities take place. Deoxygenated blood is then returned back to the heart, however, there is no strong pump like the heart to return the blood to the central circulation. Valves in the veins (pathways to return blood) play an important role in preventing blood from pooling or backflow and returning blood to the heart.


When valves fail to function, blood cannot be pushed against gravity efficiently and blood flow becomes stagnant and pools. When this pooling reaches a critical pressure, the fluid portion of blood will not able to go back to the veins from the interstitial space to capillaries (small vessels). This leads to varicose veins, reticular veins, spider veins and congestion of the lymphatic system and swelling develops.


Calf muscles are one of the key structures in helping push the blood towards the heart as they act as a pump. Prolonged standing negatively impacts this muscle pump as does poor strength of the calf muscles. Thus venous insufficiency and swelling is often seen in the legs of people who have small calf muscles and defective venous valves.


The affected area of swelling in venous insufficiency is often blue to purple-ish colour, cold to touch and has thin or no hair in keeping with venous dermatitis. It can be painful with aching and fatigue on prolonged standing or sitting. Elevation of the affected areas helps reduce the swelling and other symptoms. When a wound or ulcer is present in this area, it can be wet and weeping. Healing of the venous ulcer might be impaired and progress slowly unless the underlying venous reflux or insufficiency is corrected.


When the swelling is moderate to severe, pitting (remaining of indentation after applying pressure) can be observed.