What Is Venous Reflux and Why Do My Veins Burn?

January 8, 2021
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January 8, 2021 The Vein Institute

The symptoms of varicose veins are varied yet, for the most part, they are all extremely frustrating. One lesser-known symptom which many people experience is a burning sensation on the skin. We are often asked, why do my veins burn?! Known as Venous Reflux, it occurs when a weakness in blood flow in the legs causes the veins to leak blood into the surrounding tissue, causing a hot or burning sensation often accompanied by itching and skin discolouration.

Help! My veins are burning

Venous reflux is caused by venous insufficiency, a broad term describing a range of conditions affecting the veins of the body, most commonly in the legs. The most common symptoms include spider veins, varicose veins, swelling and general soreness in the legs, burning veins and itchy discoloured skin among others. While these burning veins aren’t an immediate cause for concern, they often indicate further underlying conditions that require treatment.

What causes it?

There are a number of factors that can cause and aggravate burning veins, but the more common ones include:

  • Genetics: The risk of varicose veins is greatly increased if it’s in your family. Talk to your parents and grandparents to see if they have had these issues (if so, start managing it early).
  • Sitting/standing constantly: Whether you’re sitting at a desk all day or on your feet for hours at a time, the blood in your legs can struggle to get back up to your heart.
  • Obesity: Being overweight puts a lot of pressure on the veins in your body, especially in your legs, straining the circulatory system.
  • Pregnancy: The increased strain on the body and changing requirements of the pregnancy cause the veins in the legs to struggle to keep up, often leading to varicose both in pre and post-partum.

Read more: Varicose Veins Explained.

Burning sensation on skin: How do I relieve the pain?

It’s most important when seeking to treat the pain and issues related to venous insufficiency and varicose, that you treat the cause. Speak to your GP or contact The Vein Institute to work out the best plan.

However, in the meantime, there’s a range of simple treatments you can do at home to minimise the symptoms and relieve any pain and discomfort, including:

  • Compression garments: Using medical-grade compression stockings is one of the best ways to manage vein issues in your legs, no matter the severity.
  • Elevate legs: If the burning sensation is increasing noticeably, elevate the legs so they’re higher than your chest, and keep them that way until the pain starts to subside.
  • Stretch and move over the day: Keeping active, even with smaller movements of your legs consistently, is a great way to help up the blood-flow and prevent this pain occurring. Learn more: Non-medical options for managing varicose veins. 
  • Take a cold shower when it’s particularly bad: If you’re at home and your legs start to burn, having a cold shower can help control swelling and inflammation of the veins, and control the pain.

While these are great ways to manage burning veins and other symptoms associated with venous insufficiency, it’s important to speak to your GP or a vein specialist to ensure that your long-term vein health is managed effectively and comfortably.

Animated illustration of a normal vein and varicose vein on a leg.

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 535 017 or make an enquiry via the Contact Us page.



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