Chapter 11: Physiology of Venous Insufficiency

Original authors: Kevin G. Burnand and Ashar Wadoodi

Abstracted by Teresa L. Carman


  • Introduction
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency
  • Chronic Vein Insufficiency Effects
  • Commonly asked questions
    • Why do my legs swell?
    • What if my swelling just happened and is only in one leg?
    • What causes the veins to not work well?
    • What can I do about my swelling and what can happen if I do nothing?


Two other major contributors to venous insufficiency are venous reflux and venous obstruction. Regardless of the cause, chronic venous insufficiency and chronic venous hypertension may result in leg swelling, skin darkening or hyperpigmentation, skin thickening or lipodermatosclerosis (fat and skin scar development), and even sores or ulcers. Your doctor can do laboratory testing and vascular testing to determine what conditions you may have. 

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