Skip to Content Top

What Is Venous Insufficiency & Why Does It Matter to You


If you have symptomatic varicose veins, you probably have venous insufficiency, a chronic progressive disease. To understand this problem, you need to know more about how blood travels through the legs.


There are two types of vessels in the body: arteries and veins. Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins, on the other hand, carry blood back to the heart after the oxygen is depleted. Veins have the added challenge of working against the force of gravity since unoxygenated blood is pushed upward toward the heart.

To make this possible, veins have one-way valves built into the walls. When muscles in the vein walls contract, the valves open and blood moves toward the heart. When the muscles relax, the valves close to trap the blood until the next contraction. This is what keeps the blood moving upward, instead of allowing gravity to pull it back toward the feet.


Venous insufficiency is a chronic condition characterized by weak vein walls and leaky valves. In each of your legs there are two main superficial veins that carry blood back to your heart: the great saphenous vein and small saphenous vein. If the valves in these veins have a gap, a small amount of blood flows backward (called reflux). That blood will pool around the next functional valve, putting stress on the vein walls. The added stress creates an even bigger gap in the valves. This added pressure from the pooling blood then goes to the veins close to the skin. When the skin veins have added pressure, they engorge and are called varicose veins.

There are many symptoms associated with venous insufficiency and varicose veins, including: pain, aching, heaviness, tiredness, swelling, and itching. In more serious cases, patients will experience changes in skin pigmentation and non-healing sores.

With today’s technology, you can have your symptoms alleviated and enjoy better health.

Please contact our Colorado Springs location at (719) 550-8346 or our Lone Tree location at (303) 857-5111 today and schedule your personal complimentary consultation with Dr. Albert, AVI’s Practicing Physician, to discuss your venous disease concerns.

Copyright 2016 Albert Vein Institute