Many people think varicose veins are “only cosmetic”. This lovely patient in her early 40’s came to The Whiteley Clinic saying she had left leg cosmetic varicose veins. She had first noticed them about 10 years ago and they had been slowly “spreading”.
However, on careful examination, the varicose veins could been seen to run down the lower leg from the inside of the leg at the knee, to the outside of the leg, across the shin. Following the varicose vein down to the ankle, there was a small patch of venous eczema (varicose eczema) at the bottom of the varicose vein.
This had not been noticed as it was semi-hidden in the area between the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon.
The patient did not have eczema anywhere else on her body and had never had eczema before.
Eczema is caused by chronic inflammation of the skin. In venous eczema, or varicose eczema, the cause of the inflammation is venous reflux from the varicose veins.
Venous reflux is the name given to blood falling the wrong way down veins that happens when the valves give way in the veins. This is explained fully in the book “Understanding Venous Reflux – The Cause of Varicose Veins and Venous Leg Ulcers“.
The term cosmetic varicose veins is often used, and is usually wrong. Varicose veins are called cosmetic when they can be seen but are not causing any medical problem. Many patients are made to feel guilty about asking for any treatment for their varicose veins by labelling them as “cosmetic”.
However, in a very large proportion of patients who come to the The Whiteley Clinic thinking that they have “cosmetic varicose veins”, careful examination and investigation shows that the veins are often worse than the patient expects.
In this case the lady has got skin damage in the form of venous eczema due to having had varicose veins for a long time. In others, there might be aching, itching, swelling, phlebitis (clots in the veins), tight or discoloured skin.
In all cases of venous eczema or any of these other conditions caused by varicose veins, the treatment is by successfully stopping the venous reflux. This is achieved by treating the varicose veins by The Whiteley Protocol.
Using our research findings, the actual treatment is tailored to every individual patient and varies depending on which of their veins have become involved in the reflux, as well as the size and distribution of the problem.
Creams, steroids and support stockings should NOT be used as they do not cure these problems. They should only be used for temporary relief whilst local anaesthetic treatment by The Whiteley Protocol is being planned.