Can Varicose Veins Cause a Burning Sensation in the Feet?
Varicose veins aren’t characterized by just one symptom. Varicose veins cause myriad symptoms, from pain and swelling to cramping and itching. In addition to those common side effects of varicose veins, many people with vein disease experience a burning sensation beginning in the feet that radiates to the lower calf.
The most visible sign of varicose veins is knotty, raised ropes of blue and purple veins on the feet and legs. But even if you don’t see a varicose vein, you may still notice the symptoms — the damaged vein may just be located deeper within the leg. Whenever your varicose veins begin to interfere with your quality of life, it’s time to see a vein specialist.
Why Your Varicose Veins Burn
Living in Texas means dealing with the summertime heat, which sometimes scorches your feet. Burning feet can also stem from strenuous exercise or an injury, such as a skin scrape. But if your feet burn year-round and you have varicose veins, that sensation may very well be due to abnormal or blocked blood flow in your veins. This malfunction is possibly caused by one of these four conditions:
Venous Insufficiency. Also called "venous reflux," venous insufficiency happens when leg valves don't function properly, leading to a reversal of blood flow. Blood circulates from the heart to the extremities through a complex network of arteries and veins. Arteries bring oxygenated blood to the organs and tissues. Normally, it’s the veins’ job to push blood back to the heart with the help of tiny valves that push blood upward. However, weakened valves can block blood from returning to the heart. As blood pools in the vein, it eventually stretches out from under the skin and forms a varicose vein. This pooling of blood also forces liquid into the surrounding tissues, resulting in a burning sensation in the leg or foot.
Blood Clot. Two types of blood clots can inflame the skin: superficial thrombophlebitis, characterized by a hard lump near the surface of the skin, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot lodged deeper within the vein that causes pain and reddened skin. Superficial thrombophlebitis is not considered serious and will typically disappear in a few weeks. DVT, however, can be potentially serious if the clot travels to the lungs and causes an embolism. If you suspect you have DVT, consult your doctor immediately.
Varicose Eczema. Linked to venous insufficiency, varicose eczema causes dry, flaky, itchy, and cracked skin that sometimes burns. Caused by fluid escaping from swollen veins leaks into tissues, the condition gives the skin its scaly appearance. Without treatment, varicose eczema can lead to slow-healing skin ulcers and infections.
Peripheral Artery Disorder. A hardening or narrowing of the arteries in the lower limbs is known as peripheral artery disorder (PAD). PAD can numb the nerves in the legs and feet and cause a feeling of warmth in the extremities.
To stop the burning, try several at-home remedies, such as elevating your feet or wearing compression stockings that promote efficient circulation. Simply stretching your legs and applying a cold compress to the affected area cools down the heat, as well.
If varicose veins are causing your burning feet, several surgical treatment options performed by a vein specialist permanently rid you of the protruding veins. Procedures such as sclerotherapy and endovenous ablation destroy the clogged vein and divert blood to your healthy veins. As the varicose vein slowly fades, your legs will be smoother and feel much more comfortable — even in the Texas sun.
Time to Take Care of Your Veins?
With summer now here, you’ll want to take care of your varicose veins so you can wear shorts and other summer styles. In the Austin area, Center for Vein Restoration’s two offices are led by Dr. Aditya Gupta, MD, RPVI, D-ABVLM. He completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the Bronx and Venous and Lymphatic Medical training through Center for Vein Restoration’s Fellowship Program. Contact Dr. Gupta today for a consultation.
11111 Research Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78759
7900 Farm to Market Road 1826
Building 1, Suite 170
Austin, TX 78737