Varicose Veins of the Feet
Varicose veins do not form only on the legs; they can develop in many other areas, with the feet being a common location. Pressure placed on the veins of the legs and feet during standing and walking can eventually damage veins, causing their valves to weaken. Weak valves can result in a backflow of blood, called venous reflux, that interferes with normal circulation. As blood pools, the walls of the veins are further stressed, eventually causing them to distend and raise the surface of the skin. Varicose veins of the feet, like other varicose veins, are not simply a cosmetic problem. If left untreated, they can lead to potentially serious medical issues, including extensive bleeding and phlebitis.
Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment for varicose veins of the feet. It is performed in a doctor's office, and typically takes 30 minutes. During sclerotherapy, a solution called a sclerosant is injected into the damaged veins. The sclerosant causes irritation in the veins, eventually collapsing them. When the weakened veins collapse, they are reabsorbed into the body and healthier veins take their place.
Sclerotherapy usually causes some bruising, but it typically goes away quickly. Some patients need only a single sclerotherapy session to take care of their varicose veins; others require multiple sessions. Anesthesia is not necessary, and most patients report no discomfort other than a mild burning sensation. The number of injections per session varies based on the number and length of the damaged veins. After sclerotherapy, cotton balls and compression tape are applied to the injection site. Risks of the procedure, although rare, can include inflammation, blood clots, nerve damage and adverse reaction to the sclerosant.
Sclerotherapy is a highly successful treatment for varicose veins in the feet. Improvement is usually visible immediately and, because sclerotherapy is minimally invasive, most patients can return to their usual activities the next day.