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Varicose Veins & Leg Swelling

Varicose Veins Leg Swelling: Causes and Treatment

A common cause of leg swelling is venous insufficiency or leaky veins. Having leaky veins is the same reason some people develop varicose veins.

Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart, then close to stop blood from flowing backward.

Normally, the one-way valves in your leg veins keep blood moving toward the heart. When the valves do not work properly, they allow blood back into the vein. This, in return, causes leg swelling.

Varicose veins leg swelling usually happens in the lower legs, such as the feet and ankles.

Here, we discuss common leg swelling causes and signs you need to seek treatment.

animation comparing healthy veins with varicose veins

Common Leg Swelling Causes

Can varicose veins cause leg swelling? Yes. In fact, venous insufficiency is one of the most common causes of swelling of the legs.

However, there are many different causes for leg swelling, including swelling related to fluid buildup and swelling due to inflammation.

Here are the most common causes of leg swelling:

  • Heart Problems
  • Kidney Problems
  • Lymphedema
  • Medications
  • History of Blood Clots
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Obesity
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Cirrhosis

Risk Factors

  • Prolonged Standing or Sitting
  • Family History
  • Being a Female
  • Multiple Pregnancies
  • Obesity
  • History of Blood Clots

Related Symptoms

If you’re experiencing varicose veins leg swelling, you’ll likely also experience the following symptoms:

  • Progressive Swelling
  • Leg Fatigue
  • Leg Heaviness and Aching
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Skin Color Changes

Is Swelling of the Legs Dangerous?

Swollen legs might indicate an underlying medical condition, so seeking medical care is important. It can be dangerous depending on the cause of the swelling, although mild swelling can be caused by sitting or standing too long, pregnancy, a high sodium diet, or premenstrual syndrome.

When Should I be Concerned About Leg Swelling?

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience sudden or severe leg swelling without an apparent reason. Seek emergency care if you have leg swelling, leg pain, breathing problems, or chest pain. Since leg swelling causes vary, we recommend contacting your doctor to determine the root cause of your swelling.

Comprehensive Varicose Veins Treatment Options & Care

Significant leg swelling usually indicates a progressive condition that might lead to other complications.

Varicose veins leg swelling treatment varies depending on your diagnosis and the severity of your condition. In general, it’s best to treat the root cause of your condition.

There are several ways to treat varicose veins and venous insufficiency, however, the most current technology involves using laser power, radio frequency power, or a thick solution to eliminate the varicose vein. As the main source of the vein is eliminated, other smaller veins, like branches of the larger vein usually go away.

Treatments are performed in the office with the use of local anesthetic. Your varicose veins treatment will depend on many factors, including your age, health, position of the veins and more. You and Dr. Parsons together can make a good decision about your treatment.

Learn more about the difference between varicose veins versus spider veins.

Vein Ablation

We place a small catheter, the size of a strand of spaghetti, into the diseased vein, which delivers energy and shrinks/closes the vein. This is a typical first-line treatment based on your ultrasound results and often used on larger veins. The types of energy include laser and radio-frequency.


Foam is injected into the diseased veins. This foam irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to close. This is typically used for smaller veins that remain after ablation treatment and the treatment of spider veins.

Varithena is a type of sclerotherapy that can also treat larger veins with decreased risk and minimal patient discomfort.


The vein is physically removed through a tiny, 2mm incision. This is the most permanent treatment. This is typically used for smaller veins that remain after ablation treatment.

Lifestyle Changes for Leg Swelling Related to Varicose Veins

Depending on the severity of your condition, we might recommend lifestyle changes to complement your leg swelling treatment for varicose veins.

Here are five lifestyle changes that might help alleviate varicose veins leg swelling symptoms:

  1. Elevating your legs
  2. Wearing loose clothing around your legs, thighs, and waist
  3. Losing weight
  4. Exercising
  5. Taking sitting breaks from standing too much

If you’re experiencing swollen legs and have signs and symptoms of varicose veins, contact us to discuss your options. At CardioVascular Health Clinic, we provide a wide range of services to help diagnose and treat our patients. We’ll help identify the root cause of the swelling and determine the best leg swelling treatment option for your condition and lifestyle.

Patient Resources

We’re committed to timely, efficient, and affordable care.
Here is a collection of useful resources our new and existing patients need in one convenient location.
Please let us know if you need additional information or have any questions.


I’m about one month out and things are so much better. At my two week evaluation my symptom score had gone from a 27 to a 7, and I’m sure it’s even better now. That speaks volumes. Now that I’m post recovery, there is no incontinence, I go to the bathroom much less and there are no ED side effects like there are with other procedures. In regard to my quality of life, well, I don’t maintain my life based on my proximity to a bathroom anymore.

Blaine P., M.D.
Professional staff working in a beautiful facility with great doctors who sincerely care about their patients. Without Dr. Schmidt's skill, I would have needed heart bypass surgery instead of a stent. Follow-up has been thorough. I can't recommend them highly enough.
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Dr. Parsons and staff are amazing. He truly listened to me from the consult. Staff showed genuine care for my progress post procedure. I had my follow up appointment today so satisfied with results. Blake made me comfortable from the start. He is an activist for uterine fibroids treatment beyond the standard.

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Thank you Dr Schrader.

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I came to Dr. Warren by a self referral for mals when it took me 8yrs 50+ doctors and thousands of dollars spent on no answers. My first visit I was scared I was just going to be gaslighted just like the past however I was pleasantly shocked when Dr. Warren immediately believed me. She took the time to review many disk I had brought from past tests. She never once dismissed me and listened to ever word I had to say. She scheduled one last test to confirm the diagnosis then I was scheduled for surgery right away. Surgery was a success and I can’t thank her and her staff enough. Dr. Warren truly saved my life.

Angie W.

Dr. Garner literally saved my life 18 months ago and I've followed him to his new practice with Cardiovascular Health. He explains things so clearly, listens and is just a very nice person. His staff is great, too! I highly recommend!

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The staff, the nurses, and Dr. Parsons were all amazing. Everything was simple and went well – very Bravo Zulu (military phrase meaning "well done"). In addition to the great staff at CardioVascular Health Clinic, the facilities were clean and well maintained. I have no complaints about anything. The whole experience was A1. I would recommend Dr. Parsons to anyone. He made a huge impact on my life.

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