Venous insufficiency

Alternative names
Chronic venous insufficiency

Definition

Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the veins do not efficiently return blood from the lower limbs back to the heart.

Venous insufficiency involves one or more veins. The valves in the veins usually channel the flow of blood toward the heart. When these valves are damaged, the blood leaks and pools in the legs and feet. Symptoms include swelling of the legs and pain in the extremities (dull aching, heaviness, or cramping).

Chronic venous insufficiency is a prolonged condition of incompetent venous circulation, occuring because of partial vein blockage or venous valve leakage. Chronic venous insufficiency can cause discoloration of the skin of the ankles in addition to the above-mentioned symptoms due to accumulation of blood degradation products in the skin.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Martin A. Harms, M.D.

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