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When should I call my doctor if I have varicose veins?

You should call your doctor if you have varicose veins or venous disease and any of the following leg symptoms:

  • dull aches or pain
  • muscle cramps
  • increased muscle fatigue in the lower legs
  • ankle edema
  • a feeling of heaviness of the legs
  • nocturnal cramps
  • pigmentation (brown patch of skin on the inner part of the ankle)
  • ulceration
  • recurrent skin infections (cellulitis) of the lower leg

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

If you have varicose veins, see a doctor if they are:
  • increasingly painful
  • becoming more red
  • causing the skin over them to wear away
You can treat them at home by keeping your legs elevated when you are sitting and wearing compression stockings when you are on your feet.
If you have varicose (enlarged, bulging) veins, you should call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms.
  • Your varicose veins cause pain, especially if you are walking or standing.
  • You develop sores that don't heal near the area of your varicose veins or on them. These might signal that you are experiencing poor fluid drainage from your skin and a lack of oxygen to the skin.
  • The vein becomes swollen, red, or feels warm when you touch the area.
  • The skin over your varicose vein begins to bleed.
  • Your varicose veins worsen, even if you are not standing or walking for long periods, or they do not improve when you wear compression hose.
  • You have a fever as well as a sudden increase in swelling, pain or redness in the area of your varicose veins.
  • You notice a "pulling" feeling in your calf of the leg that has varicose veins, as well as pain, warmth, redness and swelling. These could be symptoms of a blood clot deep in your leg, which could be life-threatening if it breaks off and travels to your lungs.
  • The skin on your calf and ankle has changed color and seems thicker.
  • Your feet or ankles swell.
  • Your varicose veins are interfering with normal daily activities, because they are causing physical symptoms, or because you are unhappy with their appearance.
Depending on the location and size of your varicose veins, your doctor may be able to suggest lifestyle changes that could help you, and/or to treat your varicose veins with surgery (including possibly laser surgery) or chemical injections to collapse the veins (sclerotherapy).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.