The Cause of Vein Disorders

Normally, veins carry blood from your legs up to your heart using one-way valves. When veins get weak, these valves no longer function and blood may flow backward towards your feet. This abnormal flow is called venous reflux or venous insufficiency. Pooled blood leads to varicose veins, spider veins and a variety of symptoms.

Risk Factors

There are many potential risk factors for varicose and spider veins. The most common include:

  • Heredity
  • Older Age
  • Female Gender*
  • Pregnancy

The majority of risk factors cannot be modified which means that you usually cannot prevent varicose veins. However, venous reflux disease is easy to treat and manage.

*NOTE: Men frequently suffer from varicose and spider veins too!


You may have a medical condition known as venous insufficiency if you suffer from any of the following leg symptoms:

  • Pain/Aching/Throbbing
  • Heaviness or leg fatigue
  • Swelling of feet/ankles
  • Itchy veins
  • Night cramps
  • Restless legs
  • Bleeding veins
  • Varicose veins
  • Non-Healing ulcers

Symptoms often get worse as the day progresses and are sometimes relieved by leg elevation.

Another clinical clue to venous insufficiency is a cluster of spider veins around your ankles. The fancy medical term for this is corona phlebectasia.

Chronic venous insufficiency may also cause the skin to have a brown leathery appearance around the ankles and lower legs (known as stasis pigmentation or lipodermatosclerosis). This unhealthy skin can develop open sores (ulcerations) and bleeding or bruising after a minor injury.