Heavy, Aching Legs: Are Varicose Veins the Culprit?

Heavy, Aching Legs: Are Varicose Veins the Culprit?

Veins in your legs must be able to stand up to the highest pressure of any veins in your body. Your circulatory system pumps blood all the way through your body, including down to your toes and back up to your heart. Gravity and pressure can make this job harder, and sometimes veins start to fail under the task, causing various symptoms.

At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, our board-certified vein specialists treat a wide range of vascular problems, including varicose veins, which can cause your legs to feel heavy, achy, and tired.

Venous insufficiency and varicose veins

Veins that aren’t sending blood back toward the heart efficiently are usually being affected by venous insufficiency. Instead of flowing strongly and steadily through the one-way valves from your toes all the way up your legs and torso to your heart, blood flow becomes sluggish and weak.

Valves start to fail, allowing blood to flow backwards through them and pool up inside the vein. That’s when you begin to see varicose veins appear, as the pooled blood becomes visible through the skin and the pressurized veins swell and bulge. This causes the well-known varicose vein effect, as they start standing out in purplish, twisted ropes from your calves.

Venous insufficiency and varicose veins increase the pressure on the nerves in your legs, which can cause the following symptoms:

Varicose veins may seem just unsightly, but they can be dangerous. Untreated, worsening varicose veins can lead to a blood clot forming behind a valve, then breaking free and causing a stroke.

Treatments for heavy, aching legs

Varicose veins can be treated by collapsing or sealing off the affected vein to reduce the risk of blood clots.


Sclerotherapy collapses small veins through injection of a sclerosing substance. This substance does damage to the inside of the vein, causing it to collapse in on itself. Damaged veins no longer receive blood flow, so they slowly break down and are flushed  out of your body naturally.

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (RAF) uses targeted waves of energy to completely seal off damaged veins. The end result is similar to that of sclerotherapy; the sealed vein is taken out of commission, and the circulatory system reroutes around it as it breaks down and is eliminated from your body.

Both procedures result in blood flow being directed to nearby healthier veins, improving your blood flow and circulation. If your leg heaviness and aching were caused by varicose veins, you should see marked improvement as each vein is treated and eliminated.

Want to know more about varicose vein treatment? Contact our office at 201-962-9199, or request a consultation online today. 

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