Leg swelling caused by decreased circulation is fairly common. Referred to as CVI (chronic venous insufficiency), it develops as we age or become less active. At any age, extra weight, smoking, pregnancy, lack of exercise and a history of blood clots also factor in. Those with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are particularly prone to CVI.
Leg swelling from CVI typically worsens over the years and is a clear indicator your circulatory and lymphatic systems are under stress and need care.
Healthy leg veins circulate blood back to the heart through one-way valves which keep blood from flowing backwards. With CVI, valves become weak, allowing blood to leak back and pool in your veins. You experience aching, swollen lower legs and feet.
That pooling blood has a cascade effect on your lymphatic system as lymph flow is also slowed on its circulatory journey. The result? Even more swelling and symptoms.
CVI manifests in the lower legs (calves, ankles and feet) in numerous ways:
Swelling - Your swelling likely fluctuates, but is increasing overall with time. Sitting or standing for extended periods exacerbates it. Putting your feet up brings some brief relief.
Pain - Alongside swelling you experience aching, throbbing, pins and needles, itchiness and skin tightness. Leg cramps and charley horses are common. You may have had a DVT (deep vein thrombosis or blood clot) in the past.
Skin changes - The skin on your lower legs is rough, flaky and dry, with patchy discoloration (reddish or brownish).
Ulcers & varicose veins - You notice cuts and scrapes tend to get infected easily and are slow to heal. You've had ulcers that take 4+ months to heal or just won’t. You likely have varicose veins that could be painful.
While CVI is chronic, it's very treatable. Beyond swelling reduction, our clients are most happy about returning to walking, golfing and other activities they’ve not been able to enjoy for a while.
Therapy focuses on: