Varicose Veins in Feet and Ankles

March 13, 2020 Dr Zil

Although varicose veins are most commonly associated with legs and calves, the underlying cause of the condition – venous insufficiency – can affect your feet and ankles as well. It’s a common issue experienced by thousands of people, and it manifests as twisted, swollen veins in the lower extremities.

Varicose veins (and spider veins – less severe forms of varicose veins) around the feet and ankles are referred to as Corona Phlebectasia by vein specialists. Statistics indicate that 3 out of 10 people will experience varicose in their adult lives. Most importantly, symptoms can differ in severity, ranging from strictly cosmetic to indicating a more serious medical problem.

What causes varicose veins in the foot?

Varicose veins generally occur when the tiny valves in your veins become damaged or weakened. Generally, this is due to age, genetics or an underlying health condition. Blood is prevented from travelling normally throughout the circulatory system, resulting in it backing up or pooling in your veins. Without treatment, veins can become swollen and discoloured, taking on a gnarled or distorted appearance.

Patients who suffer from protruding feet or ankle veins often have venous insufficiency around the small saphenous veins or the perforator veins in the lower leg. This happens due to the effects of gravity and increased pressure on veins in the lower parts of the body.

If you’re affected by varicose veins then you know how debilitating this condition can be. Even simple daily activities such as walking or standing can cause pain and discomfort. To make matters worse, staying inactive for long periods of time is not recommended either as it can aggravate your symptoms.

Symptoms of varicose veins in ankles and feet

  • Numbness in feet
  • Painful ankles and feet
  • Throbbing, itching and burning in feet and ankles
  • Redness, swelling, tenderness around feet and ankles
  • Ulceration or broken skin around feet and ankles
  • Restless or heavy legs and frequent cramping

Do ankle and foot varicose veins have to be treated?

Many patients don’t realise that those tiny bluish veins around the feet and ankles can be indicative of an underlying health condition. Therefore, it’s important to speak with an experienced phlebologist and receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

If left untreated, varicose veins in the feet and ankles can lead to other problematic issues such as:

  • Blood clots in legs and other parts of the body
  • Venous eczema
  • Discoloured or ulcerated skin
  • Swelling and hardening of the skin on your feet, ankles and lower

Home treatment for varicose veins in feet

If your varicose veins are mild and don’t require treatment, you can manage the condition yourself with the following home remedies:

  • Regular exercise – walking, swimming, cycling – improves circulation
  • Compression stockings – special garments assist with proper blood flow
  • Healthy diet – eat more fiber-rich foods, including fruits and veggies (these contain flavonoids which have been shown to help to support vein health)
  • Supplements – take grape seed extract, Vitis vinifera, studies suggest it can reduce swelling in the lower legs and alleviate symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency
  • Keep legs elevated – this prevents blood from pooling in the lower extremities
  • Massage – improves blood circulation in the entire body
  • Wear non-restrictive clothing

Medical treatment for painful varicose veins in feet

Advanced cases of venous insufficiency may require medical intervention. Fortunately we offer some excellent non-surgical approaches to treating varicose veins:

  • Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) – laser energy to close off the abnormal veins and minimise their appearance.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) – radiofrequency energy directed through a thin tube (called a catheter) to close off the blood flow.
  • Medical Superglue – physically shuts down and seals defective veins.
  • Sclerotherapy – involves injecting a safe pharmaceutical solution directly into the affected vein to irritate the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment to patients are;

  • Walk-in walk-out treatment
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
  • No general anaesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

To book a consultation and discuss our treatment program, call  1800 429 470. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.