Varicose veins are twisting, bulging, rope-like cords on the legs, anywhere from the ankle to the groin. Usually more uncomfortable and potentially harmful than spider veins, varicose veins are larger distended veins that are located deeper than spider veins. Normal veins are responsible for carrying blood against gravity back to the heart and lungs, so varicose veins are caused by inefficient, damaged vein valves that don’t close properly, allowing blood to leak back with gravity and pool within the vein. When your vein valves leak and blood pools in your legs, this ultimately results in varicose veins and you are diagnosed as having venous reflux or venous insufficiency.
Many people have heard of varicose veins, but very few truly understand their underlying cause or their potential for developing into a serious medical problem. Severe varicose veins can compromise the nutrition of the skin and lead to pain, swelling, eczema, inflammation and even ulceration of the lower leg. The treatment and removal of varicose veins is most often covered by an insurance provider.