Do your legs feel heavy and weak? Do your legs feel heavy at the end of the day or after being stationary for an extended period? If so, it’s likely that the root cause of your heavy legs is an underlying vein disease called chronic venous insufficiency.
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Sure, leg heaviness can also be caused by muscular disorders, artеrіоѕсlеrоѕіѕ, lуmрhеdеmа, or other disorders. But there are specific signs — leg heaviness at the end of the day, heavy aching legs after sitting or standing still — that indicate a circulatory disorder. The symptoms of venous insufficiency are initially pretty mild. But they gradually escalate over time and grow more severe. If left untreated, vein disease can also be potentially fatal.
You may be tempted to write off your heavy legs as a normal sign of aging. This is precisely why venous insufficiency is an extremely under-diagnosed disease — because its symptoms are attributed to signs of aging. In this article, we explore the causes of heavy leg syndrome and how to treat the underlying vein disease.
Why Do My Legs Feel Heavy And Tight?
A number of causes lead to Heavy Leg Syndrome — muscular disorders, artеrіоѕсlеrоѕіѕ, lуmрhеdеmа, etc. However, the most common and dangerous cause of heavy legs is a medical condition called venous insufficiency. Chronic venous insufficiency is a medical condition that results in diseased veins. Our veins’ valves facilitate smooth blood circulation from different parts of the body to the heart. They act as one-way flaps that prevent blood from rushing back down to the legs by gravity.
When these valves malfunction or get “floppy”, blood flows back down and pools in the veins behind the valve. Over time, as more blood accumulates, your veins swell up and you feel a heaviness in your legs. This is why your legs feel heavy and tight, especially at the end of the day or after long stretches of sitting or standing. If you sit or stand still for extended periods, more blood accumulates in your legs, which increases the sensation of heaviness.
Other Complications of Vein Disease
Over time, as more blood accumulates, your veins swell up and bulge out of the surface of the skin. If left undiagnosed and untreated, heavy legs eventually give way to spider veins and varicose veins. You may also experience serious complications like skin infections and leg ulcers due to poor circulation of blood. If your vein disease progresses further, the accumulated blood clots in your veins. The clots may eventually break away and travel to the lungs, leading to a potentially fatal medical condition called pulmonary embolism.
Even though heavy legs may seem like a minor inconvenience, they can presage grave complications. So be sure to visit your nearest vein treatment clinic for diagnosis and treatment.
Do my Legs Feel Heavy and Tight Because of Vein Disease?
Are you wondering if your heavy legs may be caused by an underlying venous insufficiency? Consider an evaluation for vein disease if you meet the following conditions:
- Your legs feel heavy at the end of the day.
- Your legs feel heavy and tight after sitting or standing for long periods of time.
- Wearing compression stockings eases some of the pain and discomfort.
- Exercises like yoga, swimming, and running alleviate some of the leg heaviness.
- You suffer from frequent leg cramps.
- Heavy leg syndrome is accompanied by skin discoloration, leg ulcers, or hair loss.
- You also develop spider veins or varicose veins.
Risk Factors For Vein Disease And Heavy Leg Syndrome
The following are some of the primary risk factors for vein disease and the accompanying heavy leg syndrome.
- Genetics is the strongest risk factor for vein disease.
- Women are more likely to develop vein disease. Approximately 50% of all women suffer from vein disease-induced heavy legs at some point in their lives as compared to 30% of all men.
- Obesity can place great pressure on your blood vessels, which can lead to vein disease and heavy legs.
- Pregnancy can also increase your likelihood of vein disease because the overall volume of blood circulation increases and several rapidly fluctuating hormonal changes take place.
Temporary Relief From Heavy Legs
Treatment for heavy legs depends entirely on the root cause of heaviness. If your heavy legs are caused by vein disease (as determined by a reputable vein doctor after conducting tests), then the following methods will provide temporary relief from heavy legs.
- Compression Stockings: Compression stockings apply pressure on the ankles and blood vessels, thereby facilitating blood flow and relieving some of the pressure.
- Lymphatic Drainage: A professional рhуѕісаl thеrаріѕt massages you at several pressure points to relieve pressure from fluid buildup and push blood along.
Permanent Treatments For Heavy Legs (Caused By Vein Disease)
If it’s diagnosed that your heavy legs are symptomatic of underlying vein disease, then the vein doctor will treat the affected saphenous veins.
The most effective minimally-invasive treatments for vein disease are radiofrequency ablation, venaseal, and endovenous laser ablation. During these procedures, the vein doctor closes off the diseased saphenous vein (either by using a medical adhesive, heat, or laser) and directs all accumulated blood to healthier veins. Over time, the diseased vein hardens and gets reabsorbed into the body.
These treatments have numerous benefits:
- They are non-surgical and minimally-invasive.
- The average duration for these treatments is around 30 minutes.
- They’re conducted on an outpatient basis so you may resume your daily tasks immediately.
- There’s little to no pain or discomfort.
- There is negligible risk of side-effects.
How To Diagnose The Cause of Heavy Legs?
At Vein Center TX, our professional vein doctors can study your symptoms and run specific ultrasound tests to diagnose the root cause of heavy legs. If your heavy legs are, indeed, caused by vein disease, they will discuss the appropriate treatment plans.
As previously mentioned, vein disease progresses rapidly. If you want a diagnosis, please schedule a consultation as soon as your legs feel heavy.