Why are my veins so visible?

Venous Insufficiency or Venous Reflux is a condition where the flow of blood through the veins is inadequate. They experience difficulty sending blood from your limbs to the heart and this causes the blood to pool in the veins in your legs.

There is no difference between varicose veins and venous insufficiency, both Varicose Veins and Venous Insufficiency are chronic venous disorders which can include all structural and functional abnormalities of the Venous System.

Venous Insufficiency is more about the functional abnormalities of a patient’s veins and Varicose Veins can be a result of this condition.

People with the following conditions are more at Risk of Venous Insufficiency:

  • Blood clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Muscle weakness, leg injury, or trauma
  • Swelling of a superficial vein (Phlebitis)
  • Family history of venous insufficiency
  • Inactivity (sitting or standing for long periods of time without moving can cause high blood pressure in the leg veins and increase your risk).


If you have the following signs Venous Insufficiency can produce symptoms like:

  • Swelling of the legs or ankles due to fluid build up (oedema)
  • Skin changes or Leg ulcers
  • Thickening of the skin on your legs or ankles
  • Varicose veins.
  • Pain that gets worse when you stand and gets better when you raise your legs
  • Leg cramps
  • Aching, throbbing, or a feeling of heaviness in your legs
  • Itchy legs
  • Weak legs
  • Skin that is changing colour, especially around the ankles
  • A feeling of tightness in your calves.


Venous Insufficiency causes blood to pool in the legs such as Varicose Veins. People with bulging and/or lumpy varicose veins on their legs may experience cramping pain and heavy limbs.

Venous Insufficiency can be caused by several different disorders, but it’s most often caused by either blood clots or varicose veins.

When forward flow through the veins is obstructed (eg: by a blood clot), blood builds up below the clot, which can lead to Venous Insufficiency.

vein problems


In Varicose Veins, the valves are often missing or impaired and blood leaks back through the damaged valves.

Venous Insufficiency treatment starts with symptom management and correcting the underlying abnormality.

No medication has yet been proven useful for the treatment of Venous Disease.

Compression therapy by bandages for initial treatment of severe stages and maintenance therapy using medical compression stockings, is essential. Venous Insufficiency Management can include graduated compression.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency requires “Chronic Management”. In addition, correction of Venous Reflux by Compression. The goal of each therapy is to improve the Venous Circulation by correcting Venous Insufficiency by removing the major Venous Reflux pathways.

AHPRA WARNING: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

North Shore Vein Clinic