Venous Ulcers

Understanding the Link Between Venous Ulcers and Venous Insufficiency

Sep 8, 2023Deep Vein Thrombosis, Peripheral Vascular Disease

Venous insufficiency is a common condition that can lead to the development of painful and hard-to-heal ulcers. These ulcers, also known as venous ulcers, occur when veins in the legs have difficulty pumping blood back to the heart, causing blood to pool in the affected area. This can lead to swelling, inflammation, and skin breakdown, resulting in a non-healing wound.

Understanding the link between venous ulcers and venous insufficiency is critical for proper diagnosis and treatment. Coastal Vascular Center specializes in diagnosing and treating venous ulcers and venous insufficiency. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Coastal Vascular Center.

The Anatomy of Veins

Veins are blood vessels that return blood from the body’s tissues to the heart. They carry deoxygenated blood from the lower extremities and other organs back to the heart for re-oxygenation. The veins in the legs contain one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward, allowing the muscles in the calf and foot to pump blood back up toward the heart.

What is Venous Insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is a form of vascular disease. This occurs when the veins in the legs have difficulty pumping blood back to the heart. The lack of efficient blood flow in the veins leads to damage to the vein walls and valves, resulting in blood pooling in the affected area. Venous insufficiency is more common in the elderly, pregnant women, and those who are overweight or genetically predisposed.

What Causes Venous Insufficiency?

Several factors can lead to venous insufficiency, including:

Valve Damage

Damage to the valves in the veins is a significant cause of venous insufficiency. The valves in the veins may fail to open and close correctly due to damage from previous blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, or varicose veins.

Weak Blood Vessel Walls

Weak blood vessel walls can also lead to venous insufficiency, which causes valves in the vessels to malfunction, leading to blood pooling in the legs.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is a condition where a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside the body, usually in the leg. DVT can cause significant damage to the vein walls and result in venous insufficiency.


Pregnancy can be a risk factor for venous insufficiency due to the increased pressure on the veins and hormone changes that affect the veins and their ability to pump blood properly.


Obesity can also lead to venous insufficiency. The additional weight puts pressure on the veins, leading to poor blood flow.


Genetics can play a role in venous insufficiency. Some individuals may be predisposed to the condition, leading to valve or vein wall damage.

What are Venous Ulcers?

Venous ulcers are open sores or wounds that occur when veins in the legs have persistent difficulty returning blood to the heart, leading to blood pooling in the area. Additionally, venous ulcers can be painful and challenging to heal. Furthermore, leg ulcers commonly occur between the ankle and knee and have a shallow depth, often accompanied by swelling and discoloration in the affected area.

If you are curious about the causes of leg ulcers, check out our article.

What Are the Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency and Venous Ulcers?

Symptoms of venous insufficiency and venous ulcers include:

Venous ulcers are caused by venous insufficiency. When persistent venous insufficiency is present, blood can pool in the veins, leading to inflammation in the affected tissues and skin breakdown, resulting in a venous ulcer.

Venous ulcers are often caused by longstanding untreated vein disease or poorly managed varicose veins. As the veins in the legs experience sustained pressure, blockages can occur, leading to inadequate drainage of blood from the legs. Also, tissues in the affected areas receive less oxygen and nutrients, leading to their breakdown and hard-to-heal wounds.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Venous Ulcers and Venous Insufficiency

Early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential in preventing the development of venous ulcers and promoting the healing existing wounds. A thorough physical examination of the affected limb and imaging studies may be needed to diagnose venous insufficiency and venous ulcers. Ultrasound is the primary imaging study employed to evaluate the circulation in the veins. However, your doctor will choose the meathod best suited for your sitution.

Coastal Vascular Center offers comprehensive treatments to address the underlying causes of venous ulcers and venous insufficiency. Treatment options may include:

Compression Therapy

Compression therapy involves using compression stockings or wraps to apply pressure to the legs and promote better blood flow out of the legs.

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)

EVLA is a minimally invasive procedure that uses laser energy to seal damaged veins, reducing blood flow to the affected area and improving blood circulation.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

RFA is another minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to heat and damage the vein wall. Thus, causing the vein to collapse and seal off.


Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that injects a solution into the varicose vein, causing it to shrink and eventually disappear.

Surgical Treatment

In severe venous ulcers and insufficiency cases, surgery may be required to remove damaged veins or reroute the blood flow.

Expert Care at Coastal Vascular Center

Our team at Coastal Vascular Center is committed to providing expert care for venous ulcers and venous insufficiency. We specialize in diagnosing and treating both conditions through a range of minimally invasive procedures. Our practice aimes to restore healthy blood flow, promoting healing, and preventing further complications.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of venous insufficiency or venous ulcers, please don’t hesitate to contact Coastal Vascular Center for further information or to schedule a consultation. Our expert team is here to help and provide the care and support you need to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Call Coastal Vascular Center at 713-999-6056 for any questions or to schedule a consultation with our experienced vascular specialist.

Health-related information on is for educational purposes only and, therefore not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.