COMPLICATIONS AND CHRONIC PROBLEMS FROM VARICOSE VEINS
Varicose veins may cause more serious chronic problems if left untreated. Some of these conditions are as follows:
Venous eczema (skin itching and flaking)
The first sign of this is usually around the ankle and starts with mild itching, redness, and flaking of the skin. These are often treated by using steroid creams but this can cause the skin to become thin and fragile and break down. If neglected, the eczema can become very severe, with inflamed, red, scaly skin all around the lower part of the leg and ankle.
Skin Pigmentation (darkening of the skin)
This means darkening of the skin, starting with a pale brown and later turning to dark brown. This indicates that the skin is becoming damaged from the poor blood return caused by the faulty veins.
Lipodermatosclerosis (hardening of the skin and fat tissue damage)
This means that the skin and the fatty layer underneath the skin has been damaged. The skin becomes dark, shiny, and hard. It sometimes will have a whitish appearance.
Ulceration (open wounds usually seen on the ankle)
This occurs when the skin breaks down, opens up, and is very slow to heal. These open sores may contain a yellowish drainage and they may be painless or very painful. They may also become infected. Many patients undergo wound care for years without permanent results until the faulty veins are closed. A majority of these ulcers can be healed with proper venous treatment.