What Causes Varicose Veins in the Feet?

January 19, 2021 The Vein Institute

When you think of varicose veins, what normally comes to mind is the image of bulging twisted veins on your calves, sometimes your thighs. While they normally occur around your lower legs, it’s relatively common for them to affect your feet and ankles too.

In fact, with hundreds of thousands of Australians suffering from varicose veins in their feet and ankles, understanding how varicose veins form in the feet and ankles and knowing how to manage and treat them is crucial.

What causes varicose veins in the feet?

Varicose veins and spider veins occur in the feet and ankles for much the same reason they do in the rest of the legs. When there’s a chronic vein insufficiency (CVI) the veins aren’t able to properly pump blood into and out of the feet and lower legs.

As this happens, it causes the blood to pool into the veins closer to the surface of the skin, leading to bulging and twisted veins, and as it progresses, can lead to weakened and damaged vein walls. The symptoms of these can range from purely aesthetic to more serious underlying issues.

What makes it particularly frustrating with the feet is that it has a more adverse effect on daily life, and can lead to discolouration, swelling, pain and irritation in the skin. Whether you’ve got full varicose veins in the feet and ankles or just small spider veins crawling along the side of your foot, staying on top of these varicosities is important for your health and well-being.

Not sure if you have varicose veins or spider veins? Try our free assessment tool.

How do I treat varicose veins?

When addressing varicose veins, it’s important to confirm if they need proper medical treatment or can be managed effectively at home.

In the instance that the symptoms are milder and you’re looking to just take care of the issue yourself at home, we’ve put together a few tips for managing the symptoms of varicose veins and reducing the severity of them in the first place.

  • Wearing compression stockings to assist blood-flow.
  • Exercising regularly, especially swimming, cycling and walking.
  • Eating more high-fibre foods like fruits and veggies, especially those with higher amounts of flavonoids like apples, cherries and blueberries.
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing and avoiding tight or high-heeled footwear
  • Where possible, rest and elevate the legs at the end of the day.

If you’re finding the symptoms of your varicose veins are increasing in severity, or they’re starting to interfere with your daily life, then it’s important to speak to a vein specialist to look at treatment options, otherwise, you leave yourself at risk of more serious issues like blood clots, ulcers, chronic swelling and skin issues like eczema and discolouration.

Medical treatment of varicose veins can be done non-surgically through a treatment plan tailored just for you.

Diagram of a normal functioning vein with healthy vein valves, a varicose vein with damaged vein valves and then an image of how the varicose vein looks when compressed by wearing medical-grade compression stockings.

Seek expert advice

The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive program using non-surgical laser treatment techniques. You can learn more in our Definitive Guide to Varicose Vein Treatment.

The benefits of non-surgical varicose vein treatment 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  1300 981 402. Or, make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.