Chronic venous insufficiency

Chronic Venous Insufficiency is one of the most overlooked and underestimated diseases, partly because it appears in many forms. The underlying problem is failure of the valves that prevent blood from moving downward through your veins. Here, we will break down the different types of vein issues our patients most often seek treatment for.


Vein disease is classified into 5 stages

Stage 1 – Spider Veins

Spider veins affect 50% of Americans and are one of the most common reasons people feel insecure about their legs. People often avoid wearing shorts or bathing suits to keep these unsightly veins hidden. Although they are commonly perceived as only a cosmetic issue, they can often be a symptom of the more serious problem of venous insufficiency, especially if you have symptoms such as heaviness, aching and/or fatigue in the legs.

Stage 2 – Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are visible veins in the leg that bulge, and often protrude through the skin and affect approximately 40% of the U.S population. These types of veins form as a result of venous insufficiency: blood that pools in the vein because of a faulty valve and causes the protrusion. Patients dealing with varicose veins often limit their social activity and experience a significant change to their quality of life due to the pain and embarrassment associated with these veins. Left untreated, they can lead to worsening of symptoms and appearance.

Stage 3 – Leg Swelling

One of the most common complaints we hear from our patients is “My legs feel swollen, tired, and heavy, especially at the end of the day”. Our leg veins are responsible for draining blood out of our legs and returning it to the heart. When the valves inside our veins don’t work properly, blood tends to build up and pool in the leg, which over the course of the day leads to an increase in swelling. Swelling in the feet and legs often leads to the patient’s legs feeling tight and heavy. This can limit their mobility, ability to take part in daily activity and often can affect sleep schedules.

Stage 4 – Skin darkening and thickening

Think of the superficial veins in your leg as a drainage system for your skin. Similar to when the drain for your sink becomes clogged, causing a problem with your sink, when you develop reflux (backwards flow) down your veins, you have a problem adequately circulating old blood out of your skin. As the blood pools over time, it can leak out of the damaged veins, into the skin. This results in dark, thickened patches of skin that often are very itchy.

Stage 5 – Skin Ulcer

One of the most dreaded complications of vein disease is developing an open wound on the leg called a venous ulcer. Venous Ulcers usually occur on the inner aspect of the leg just above the ankle. They often develop in discolored and abnormal patches of skin and are due to lack of oxygen and nutrients. These ulcers can take years to heal, but unless the underlying circulation problem is fixed, the wounds will usually come back.

The best time to treat veins issues is now.

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, the best time to treat these veins is now, as these problems only get worse with time. Take the first step towards healthy, better-looking legs today by scheduling a consultation with our experts.

Cosmetic Vein issues

  • Spider Veins: Spider veins are small, purple or red veins that appear on the legs.  They are typically flat and do not cause any pain.  Spider veins are easily treated with sclerotherapy. They may also be an indicator thought of venous insufficiency, which would need to be addressed prior to treating the spider veins if present. 
  • Facial Veins: Many patients seek treatment of blue veins that may or may not protrude through the skin.  The most common areas for these to appear are the forehead, temple, and underneath the eye.  Spider veins can also appear on the face, typically the nose and cheeks.
  • Hand Veins: As we age, we lose muscle and fat along the tops of our hands.  This can make the veins in the hand appear to be very prominent and concerning for many patients.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic Venous Insufficiency occurs when the veins lying just beneath the skin in our legs do not properly drain. Chronic Venous Insufficiency causes varicose veins, significant swelling in the legs, pain and discoloration of the skin.

  • Varicose Veins: Varicose veins are swollen, bulging veins just beneath the surface of the skin. Varicose veins occur when the valves in veins become weak or are defective, resulting in the pooling of blood in the veins.
  • Superficial Venous Clots: Blood does not circulate properly through varicose veins.  As a result of blood pooling, rather than flowing through our veins, patients are at risk for developing clots inside the varicose veins.  While these are often very painful and alarming, in most cases these types of clots are not a serious health concern and are easily treated.  
  • Venous Stasis: Venous insufficiency affects the veins that are responsible for draining old blood out of our skin.  Once the blood backs up enough, it will lead to poor circulation in the skin leading to, itchiness, and skin thickening 
  • Venous Ulcer: As the circulation of blood through the skin worsens, the thickened skin can progress to open wounds, which are usually located along the inner and lower part of the calf.  These wounds represent a serious health concern, often become infected and can take several months to heal. 

Deep Vein Thrombisis (DVT)

  • DVT: Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, is an extremely serious type of blood clot. DVTs occur when clots form in the deep veins of the legs. Once these blood clots form, they can lead to severe leg pain and swelling, and they can break off and travel to the lungs
  • Pulmonary Embolism: If a DVT breaks loose from the leg, it can travel up to the heart and then to the lungs.  If this occurs, it will become lodged, preventing blood from circulating through the lung.  This can result in severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, and in serious cases can lead to death.

Vein disease is a prevalent and often dangerous condition.

If you are experiencing any symptoms, or are at risk for vein disease, it’s important that you seek vein disease treatment in Nashville before the condition worsens. Our highly trained Nashville vein experts will provide leading-edge care to diagnose and treat your vein disease so you can live a full and active life.