How Can Incompetent Veins Cause Leg Swelling, Leg Ulcers, and Infection?

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When a vein becomes incompetent, gravity works to reverse the flow of venous blood towards the feet. Generally while one is walking or exercising, the blood flow is normal through the incompetent vein and blood is moved out of the leg. However, when one stands without exercising, the flow in the incompetent vein reverses and blood backfills the lower leg. This restricts venous drainage and results in high blood pressure of the surface veins of the leg. This is also caused by dysfunctional valves in the perforator veins that connect the skin veins with the deep pumping veins located in the calf. The pressure of this blood is quite high and can cause damage to the delicate skin veins if it flows backwards towards the skin. Each perforator vein has a valve within it to prevent this from happening. When these valves become incompetent, high-pressure blood from the deep system flows towards the skin and produces high blood pressure of the surface veins. High blood pressure of the surface ...
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Leg swelling, leg ulcers, and Infection are thought to develop due to poor transfer of nutrients and oxygen to the tissues secondary to impaired circulation and chronic blood stagnation, a consequence of incompetent vein valves, which allows blood to pool in the lower extremities. Leakage of blood constituents into the surrounding tissues and activation of inflammatory cells and fibroblasts is broadly responsible for the leg swelling and other observed changes. It should be pointed out that If the source of leg swelling is from fluid retention from diet, heart or kidney problems, the swelling tends to be equal in both legs. Unequal swelling of the legs; on the other hand, can be caused by chronic venous disorder (venous edema) or lymphatic disease.

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