Understanding the Complications of Varicose Veins

Far from just being ugly leg veins, varicose veins bring with them a number of possible complications. This is why it is advisable to seek treatment of varicose veins, particularly if they are painful or causing you other discomfort. Thrombophlebitis (swelling of a vein) and deep vein thrombosis have already been comprehensively covered in previous Vein Clinic blog posts, so here we take a look at some of the other complexities that can arise from damage to the leg veins.


If your varicose veins are close to the skin surface, there is a risk that they will bleed if you bump or cut your leg, and in some instances it can be difficult to stem the blood flow. Lying down with the affected leg raised while applying pressure to the injury may help to stop the bleeding, but if not, it is vital you seek urgent medical attention.


Due to the altered blood flow through the veins, it can have a negative impact on the way that oxygen, nutrients and waste materials move between the blood and the skin. If this continues in the longer term, as is the case when varicose veins are left untreated, this can lead to a number of problems outlined below.

  • Varicose eczema . This condition may be permanent and is characterized by red, scaly skin on which blisters and crusting may develop.
  • Venous ulcers . Raised pressure in the lower leg veins causes fluid to move from the vein and gather under the skin. As a result, the skin becomes thicker, swollen and over time may degrade to form an ulcer; before an ulcer develops you will often see a colored spot on the skin. Usually this type of ulcer develops most frequently around the ankle. If you notice any of the signs mentioned here, it is advisable to visit your doctor as although easily treated in the early stages, ulcers become harder to treat as they develop and grow increasingly painful.


If you are concerned about the complications of varicose veins, you can discuss these with vein doctor Dr. John Tan at your consultation. Seeking early treatment of varicose veins which have become troublesome is the best way to prevent some of the risks associated with them.

August 29, 2013

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