If you experience leg pain and weakness occasionally – meaning no more than once or twice a month – then it could be due to a number of common causes, including “overdoing it” while working or exercising. But if you experience pain in your legs often, accompanied by feelings of reduced leg strength and weakness, the cause can be something more serious. It can be the result of vein disease.
What Hawaii residents should know about leg pain and weakness
One of the most common causes of chronic leg pain and weakness – especially if you also have varicose veins or spider veins – is a vein disease called chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI. In healthy veins, tiny one-way valves open in response to the movements of your leg muscles to allow deoxygenated blood to be pumped “upwards” (against the flow of gravity) to your heart. If CVI has damaged these valves, however, they become leaky and fail to close properly. This allows blood to flow “downwards” back into the veins and pool there. This is what causes the veins to become swollen and take on the bluish-purple color of deoxygenated blood.
But CVI can cause other symptoms as well, even if you don’t have any visible varicose veins, and one of the most common is leg pain and weakness. These symptoms occur because CVI is crippling your circulation and preventing your legs from getting the nutrients and oxygen they need. If this condition is ignored for too long, the pain and weakness can become so severe that you find it hard to do normal things like walk or stand for more than a few minutes, and can effectively cause you to become disabled.
Sadly, CVI isn’t the worst possible cause of leg pain and weakness
As bad as CVI can be in impairing your circulation, there is another vein disease that can cause symptoms of leg pain and weakness – deep vein thrombosis or DVT. This is a more serious condition, because it causes blood clots (thrombi) to form in the large veins of your legs. Even if these clots remain in place they are blocking proper blood flow, and thus can be causing the pain and weakness you feel. But a worse scenario occurs if these blood clots travel through the veins to your brain (where they can cause a stroke) or to your lungs (where they can cause a pulmonary embolism). Both of these conditions are potentially fatal.
So how do you know for sure if you have CVI or DVT?
Well, unfortunately, about half of the time there are no distinguishing symptoms of either disease that you are likely to notice on your own. The presence of varicose veins is a big tip-off, but it is also possible to have either CVI or DVT and display no swollen veins on the surface of your skin. The chronic pain and weakness are, in fact, the most important symptoms.
So if you have been experiencing this – especially if the pain and weakness have gone on for weeks or months – our advice as varicose vein treatment specialists in Honolulu and Maui is to contact one of the best vein treatment centers in Maui and make an appointment for a venous health screening. These screenings are fast, painless, and non-invasive, but they allow your Hawaii vein specialists to diagnose CVI, DVT, and other forms of vein disease in about an hour.
If we don’t find indications of vein disease but find that you have risk factors that make you more likely to get it, we can give you tips on how to prevent it from developing. If we do find an indication of vein disease, we can present to you the most state-of-the-art treatment options for eliminating it. These treatments are minimally invasive, require no hospitalization, and can often be completed in the comfort of our vein treatment center in Hawaii in about an hour. So give Dr. Randall S. Juleff a call today and set up an appointment for your venous health screening. You’ll be happy you did.