Many patients with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) will complain of heaviness in the legs, especially after standing for long periods of time. The heavy, dragging sensation is caused by excess low-oxygen blood that pools in the legs and creates pressure and lactic acid buildup. Heaviness in legs may be accompanied by other symptoms, including fatigue, leg pain and leg swelling.
CVI and related symptoms are more common in women over the age of 50 and individuals who live a particularly sedentary lifestyle, or those who spend majority of their time on their feet (food service workers, EMS, teachers, retailers). A family history of CVI in addition to obesity or high blood pressure will elevate an individuals risk for developing the condition.
Conservative forms of treatment for heaviness in legs include elevating the legs for 15 to 30 minutes several times a day to help drain excess blood, or wearing compression stockings to prevent blood pooling from happening in the first place. To fully treat heaviness in legs, the CVI disease must be treated. Depending on your unique condition, an interventional radiologist may recommend endovenous radiofrequency ablation (RFA), ambulatory phlebectomy, or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy for treatment. All three therapies are minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that are highly effective in treating the vein disease.