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What causes varicose veins to hurt?

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I'm Dr. Martin Franklin, medical director of Vein Associates of Texas. I'm board certified in family medicine for the past 15 years and also certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. What causes varicose veins to hurt? Varicose veins create pain because of stretching of the skin and the tissue caused by swelling. The swelling is caused by the backward flow of blood that cannot return to the heart. Once this occurs, this creates itching, numbness, tingling, Charlie horses, cramping, and restlessness of the legs. Those symptoms are often benefited by wearing graded compression stockings. By wearing graded compression stockings, this is one way we can evaluate whether or not the symptoms that the patient is having is really caused by veins or from another source. If the symptoms resolve with compression stockings, or mostly resolved, then we have a good indication that the source of the pain and discomfort is coming from the swelling of the legs.

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