- Open ankle sores (venous leg ulcers)
Open ankle sores are caused by malfunctioning leg valves. Healthy leg valves prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction. When these valves do not function as they should, pressure in the veins increases and causes open red sores. When these sores don't heal and look like fresh wounds, they are called venous leg ulcers. Venous leg ulcers can be extremely painful. The physicians of Vein Clinics of America effectively treat this condition with a combination of wound care and treatment of the underlying venous problem with ELT, and/or ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.
- Itchy, red rash or red dots (venous stasis dermatitis)
An itchy, red rash or red dots on the legs might be confused with a different medical condition called eczema. However, these are actually symptoms that signal an underlying leg condition that cannot be seen at the skin's surface called venous stasis dermatitis. The rash or dots are caused by poor blood circulation or by blood gathering or pooling in the legs. Oftentimes the red rash or dots occur on the shins.
- Darkening of skin on legs (hyperpigmentation)
The medical term for skin that changes to a darker color is hyper-pigmentation. It is a skin condition that may be caused by sun damage, inflammation, or other skin injuries.
- Ankle spider veins (corona phlebectatica)
Ankle spider veins are a collection of tiny branches of veins on the ankle that are so interwoven that it can be hard to identify single veins. They give the skin around the ankle a red or pink discoloration. The medical term for this condition is corona phlebectatica, and it is often associated with other types of vein conditions that might not be visible from the leg's surface.
- Darkened skin that is smooth, tight, and painful (lipodermatosclerosis)
This condition is the result of a slow process that occurs after many years of untreated leg disease. The skin on the legs feels smooth, tight, and painful, and looks scarred and discolored. Sometimes the skin even changes so that the legs have a shape that is sometimes described as an upside-down champagne bottle. The medical term for this condition is lipodermatosclerosis.
- Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS)
Patients who suffer from Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome, or KTS, have very painful swelling in one or both legs because of varicose veins that are filled with high-pressure blood. Typical varicose veins are filled with stagnant blood, but in KTS, the pressure in the varicose veins can cause both the leg and the varicose vein to swell and change the skin's appearance. Oftentimes, the leg has a clear port-wine stain, which is a red or purple birthmark that covers a large surface of the skin. This condition is caused by a failure of blood vessels or lymph vessels.
- Swollen ankles (edema)
Ankles that appear swollen but are not painful are caused by an abnormal buildup of fluid that is trapped in the ankles. When the valves in veins near the top of the leg are not functioning properly, gravity can push blood down to the ankles where it builds up. The medical term for this condition is edema.
- Restless legs syndrome (RLS)
Someone who always feels the urge to move his or her legs may be suffering from restless legs syndrome, or RLS. RLS can make it uncomfortable to do normal activities, especially when sitting down. Patients with RLS have trouble sleeping through the night and traveling long distances in the car or on a plane because they always feel they must move their legs. Although RLS may have other causes, it is a common complaint by people who have vein disease. Legs feel achy, cramped, and tired because of broken vein valves. When these valves cannot properly pump blood back up to the heart, gravity causes the blood to flow backward and distend the veins with stagnant blood.