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Leg Pain / Tenderness

One of the most common causes of pain in leg is venous insufficiency, a condition in which the veins stretch over time and the one-way valves in the veins fail.  This valve failure allows too much venous blood to flow back down the leg instead of continuously flowing back to the heart. This downward flow of blood causes high pressures to develop in the leg veins.  This high pressure (chronic venous hypertension) causes stretching in the vein walls which causes pain.  An inflammatory condition will develop over time around the veins resulting in pain and/or tenderness in the leg.

Pain or tenderness in legs may also be the result of clotting (thrombosis) in the veins.  Superficial thrombophlebitis refers to clotting and inflammatory changes in the veins of the skin and fatty tissues and deep vein thrombosis (commonly called ‘blood clots’) refers to clotting in veins inside the muscles of the leg.  Untreated venous thrombosis may worsen and may result in more pain, destruction of valves in the veins, or ‘blood clots’ and their associated complications.

Many times patients with leg pains from vein disease are missed if they do not have large, obvious varicose veins of the legs.  Unless specifically requested a non-specialized ultrasound exam laboratory may test only for venous thrombus (clot) and not for venous insufficiency.  A “normal” report after testing only for venous thrombus will miss the diagnosis of venous insufficiency.

When vein disease of the legs is suspected, be sure that you get a complete diagnostic venous ultrasound which is by far the best diagnostic test for venous disease. This is a specialized exam which is best performed by those with lots of experience doing these tests.  Contact us for a thorough clinical and ultrasound evaluation.