Venous Stasis: Gravity Controlling Blood
Pumping water up a pipe takes work. Gravity pulls on the liquid and makes it want to flow back down. Unless you keep up a constant pressure, or have some other way for the water to stay flowing in one direction, you won’t be able to get the fluid very far. The same is true for your blood. Blood flowing back to your heart from your feet and legs must fight gravity the whole way. When something goes wrong with your veins, the fluid is no longer kept in an upward direction—allowing it to pool and cause painful damage to your feet and ankles. Fortunately, treatments do exist to control the problem and relieve the painful swelling that results.
Venous stasis, also known as chronic venous insufficiency, is an issue with the flow of blood returning to your heart from your legs. The valves that keep the blood traveling up your veins and back to the heart don’t work the way they are meant to, allowing liquid to leak downward instead of forcing it up. As a result, blood pools in your feet and your lower legs. The buildup can be very uncomfortable, causing swelling, cramping, itching, varicose veins, skin discoloration, and even slow-healing ulcers. Without intentional intervention, the problem will not get better—but it can get worse.
Many different problems can damage valves and lead to venous stasis. Age, weight, and inactivity contribute to circulatory inefficiencies. Spending long periods of time sitting or standing encourage blood pooling. Even some heart and kidney diseases can lead to vein problems. It could also be a sign of a potentially deadly blood clot, so it’s very important that you have the condition examined so the source can be diagnosed and addressed.
Addressing the Pain
Since many different—and serious—conditions can lead to venous stasis, having it accurately diagnosed is important. Drs. Joel W. Brook and David R. Northcutt will perform a thorough examination of the feet, ankles, and lower legs. They may also order Doppler testing to get a clearer picture of the blood flow in your veins. This will help them see if you have developed a blood clot.
Once the condition has been diagnosed, the doctors will work with you to determine the best course for treatment. Reducing swelling in your legs will help with the discomfort, so you may need to rest and elevate your feet, or even wear prescription compression stockings. Improved activity encourages healthy circulation, so you may be given physical therapy or a special exercise regimen tailored to your abilities and needs to get your blood flowing. If your skin has begun to break down or has already formed ulcers, you will need immediate intervention to prevent an infection. You also may need medications to address the root of the issue if it is connected to your heart or kidneys.
Don’t ever ignore pain, skin changes, or swelling in your feet and ankles. They could be signs of venous stasis. The problem doesn’t get better on its own—in fact, the longer the blood is allowed to pool, the more likely you are to develop complications like ulcers or permanent changes in your skin. Instead of just hoping things improve, contact Dallas Podiatry Works for an appointment or more information and take care of your feet today. Visit the online contact page or call either office location to reach us: (972) 566-7474 for the Dallas office; (972) 943-3323 for the Plano location.