What Causes Varicose Veins in the Feet?

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January 19, 2021 The Vein Institute

When you think of varicose veins, generally the first thing that comes to mind is the image of bulging twisted veins on your calves and sometimes on 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 in the feet and ankles develop for much the same reason they do in the rest of the legs. When chronic vein insufficiency (CVI) occurs and the veins aren’t able to properly pump blood around the feet and lower legs.

When CVI begins to develop it causes blood to pool into the veins closer to the surface of the skin, leading to a bulging and twisted appearance. As it progresses it can lead to weakened and damaged vein walls. The symptoms can range from purely aesthetic to more serious underlying issues. Varicose vein symptoms include:

  • Pain, swelling or heaviness in the legs. Partidularly if it intensifies after standing or sitting for long periods.
  • Burning, muscle cramping or a throbbing feeling
  • Chronic swelling around the feet and ankles

What Causes Varicose Veins in the Feet? Diagram of healthy veins in comparison to varicose veins

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 in the feet and ankles?

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.

Varicose veins in the feet and ankles

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.