Possible causes of varicose veins, which commonly affect the legs and involve pain, include venous insufficiency, leg vein damage or increased pressure in the leg veins, according to WebMD. Pregnant women often develop varicose veins temporarily. Older people are also prone to developing the condition.
Varicose veins mostly occur in women, and they may be hereditary or may develop in later years, notes WebMD. People born with weak walls in the veins or damaged valves are predisposed to develop varicose veins. In some cases, varicose veins indicate a severe condition, such as abnormal blood vessels between veins and arteries, deep vein injury, tumors or blood clots.
In people who experience varicose veins resulting from venous insufficiency, the valves in the leg veins fail to work correctly, allowing blood to accumulate in the vein instead of moving toward the heart, explains MedlinePlus. Blood buildup causes swelling in the vein, leading to varicose veins. Other risk factors for varicose veins include sitting or standing for prolonged periods, history of blood clots in the legs, obesity and old age.
Itching, mildly swollen ankles or feet, visible veins and an aching sensation in the legs are common symptoms of varicose veins, states MedlinePlus. Skin sores that take a long time to heal, dry skin that cracks easily, skin discoloration and leg swelling are severe symptoms that require medical attention.