Almost everyone experiences swelling in their legs and ankles from time to time. In most cases the swelling is temporary, the result of strain or injury or overuse of the leg muscles. But when swollen legs and ankles become chronic, and persist for days, weeks, or months, they can be a symptom of vein disease.
Huh? What does swelling in my legs and ankles have to do with my veins?
Your body’s circulatory system has two cycles. The first is handled by your arteries, which have internal muscles that allow them to pump blood to your organs and extremities. The second is handled by your veins, which return deoxygenated blood to the heart and lungs. Unlike arteries, veins have no internal muscles, and rely on the contraction of surrounding muscles to provide the pumping action. Blood flow within the veins is controlled by a series of tiny, one-way valves that open as the blood passes through and then close again.
If these valves become damaged as the result of a disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), they can become “leaky” and allow blood to flow back into the veins and pool there. CVI is one of the most common causes of varicose veins, but it is also one of the most common causes of swollen legs and ankles.
Why should your swollen legs and ankles concern you?
If the swelling is caused by vein diseases such as CVI, one of the hard truths we have to tell you as experienced vein doctors in Boynton Beach is that it’s not going to magically get better on its own – it’s going to get worse. At first the swelling may just be annoying, but left untreated it can become so painful that you can no longer walk or stand comfortably. Left to progress even further, CVI often results in changes to the texture of the skin, turning it brownish, tough and leathery, and prone to injuries and sores that do not respond to topical treatment, and do not heal.
But another potential cause of swollen legs and ankles is even more serious – deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. DVT occurs when the deep veins in your legs develop blood clots. At best these blood clots remain in place and disrupt proper blood flow, weaken your immune system, and increase your risk of several other diseases. At worst, they can travel through your veins to your lungs and brain, causing a pulmonary embolism or a stroke, conditions that kill over 300,000 Americans every year. That is definitely something to be concerned about.
So how do I find out whether the swelling in my legs is caused by vein disease?
You can find out by calling the best vein doctors in Boynton Beach at 561-515-0080 to schedule a venous health screening. This examination takes only about an hour, and is completely non-invasive and painless, but can determine the state of your vein health very accurately. After the examination, your Boynton Beach vein specialist will go over the results with you. If the tests show indications of vein disease, the doctor will present possible treatment options and help you to decide which are best for you.
Most forms of vein disease that lead to swollen legs and ankles – varicose veins and spider veins, CVI, and even DVT – can be quickly and easily treated these days, in the comfort of our Boynton Beach vein clinic. The procedures are so painless that they do not require anesthesia and so minimally invasive that they don’t need long recovery times. So give us a call today and allow us to help you make your swollen legs and ankles a thing of the past.