Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic Venous Insufficiency. Get Relief & Say Goodbye to Leg Pain!

,Updated: 9/25/23

Are your legs constantly aching, cramping, or swelling? Have you noticed discoloration in your skin near your ankles? If so, it’s time to say goodbye to the pain and embarrassment associated with Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). CVI is a vein condition that can cause debilitating symptoms that interfere with everyday life if left untreated. Fortunately, there are natural treatments available today that allow you to manage CVI without the use of long-term medications or surgery. Learn how simple lifestyle changes and at-home remedies can provide relief from chronic leg pain and keep CVI under control for good!

What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

The arteries are responsible for transporting blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins transport blood back to the heart, while valves in the veins prevent blood from flowing backward. If an individual suffers from chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), these valves do not function properly, causing blood to pool in the legs and exerting pressure on the veins. Blood fights gravity to flow through veins, but it must fight even harder in the legs and feet. This pressure causes the veins to stretch, weakening the internal valves in the veins. They allow blood to flow through and then close to prevent it from flowing back. Chronic venous insufficiency affects 40 percent of people in the United States, according to the Society of Vascular Surgery. The condition most commonly affects individuals over 50 and it is more common in women than men.

Causes and risk factors of chronic venous insufficiency include pregnancy, family history and obesity. It can also result from high blood pressure in the leg veins. Sitting or standing over long periods of time can increase pressure in the legs. Chronic venous insufficiency can cause leg pain, swelling in the lower leg or ankle and skin changes in the legs. It can also cause varicose veins, which develop from excess pressure on the legs.

Some remedies for chronic venous insufficiency include regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, maintaining skin health and wearing compression garments. All of these behaviors can help enhance blood flow. Supplements like horse chestnut and bilberry may also help with blood circulation.

Symptoms of Chronic Venous Insufficiency

The symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency become more severe as the condition progresses. They may be similar to other conditions. Patients should seek medical attention as soon as they notice any signs of CVI. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment helps reduce the risk of any serious complications.

Patients with this condition often experience a combination of symptoms including leg pain and swelling in the legs or feet. Damaged capillary membranes also cause leg edema. CVI also causes varicose veins, which develop from swelling on the back of the legs and increased venous pressure. Patients may also notice an open sore on the inside of the leg called an ulcer. Usually they appear on the skin just above the ankle. The calves usually feel stiff and the legs cramp. Patients also often complain of discomfort in the legs, with limbs feeling very heavy.


In addition, the skin itself also changes in color and texture. The skin may darken on the affected limb. As the blood pools, pigment builds up under the skin, permanently darkening it. The skin may also thicken and turn leathery. This condition is called lipodermatosclerosis. It is a type of panniculitis, inflammation of the skin’s fat layer that results in skin ulceration.

Researchers have not identified the specific cause of lipodermatosclerosis, but it is common in patients with chronic venous insufficiency or certain vein disorders. Most cases occur in obese individuals. Physicians use compression therapy to treat it and eliminate chronic venous insufficiency. Medications that prevent blood clotting, inflammation and pain can help some patients. If the condition fails to respond to initial treatments, the patient may need surgery.

Risk Factors for Chronic Venous Insufficiency


The risk of developing chronic venous insufficiency increases over the years as people age. Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in the veins that regulate blood flow. As a result, the valves are not able to stop blood from back flowing. This causes blood to flow backwards and collect in the veins instead of flowing up to the heart.


Obesity is a risk factor for chronic venous insufficiency. The condition manifests at a higher rate in patients with higher body mass index. Being overweight exerts pressure on the veins.

Blood Clots

Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which blood clots in the veins. Valves in these veins get damaged when the body tries to heal from these clots, causing impaired blood flow.


Pregnancy can play a key role in the development of chronic venous insufficiency in women. The volume of blood in the body increases during pregnancy in order to sustain the developing fetus. The maternal vascular system also experiences extensive changes during pregnancy. However, this can lead to unfortunate side effects. For example, veins in the legs may widen and enlarged veins can also result from hormonal changes.


If you have a job that requires you to stand or sit for long periods of time, you may be more at risk of developing CVI. This is because prolonged periods of inactivity can cause blood to pool in the legs, putting extra pressure on the vein walls. A lot of patients may find that physical activity aggravates their symptoms, especially people at jobs that require heavy lifting.

Family History

There may be a genetic absence of valves in a family lineage. If family members have chronic venous insufficiency, there is a greater possibility that other relatives will experience it too.


Women are at a greater risk of developing chronic venous insufficiency because of hormonal changes in the body. Other factors include pre-menstruation and menopause. Hormones from these factors help relax the walls of the veins. Hormone treatments like birth control pills may also present a risk.

How Common is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

According to the National Institute of Health, about 33% of adults worldwide suffer from CVI. This prevalence rate increases with age, with people over the age of 60 more likely to develop the condition. In the United States alone, it is estimated that around 22 million people struggle with this condition. This makes CVI a significant public health concern and underscores the need for greater awareness and treatment options.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Diagnosing Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency is diagnosed with a physical examination. A physician performs a physical exam and reviews the patient’s medical history to establish the severity of the condition. Diagnostic procedures include:

Doppler Ultrasound

A Doppler ultrasound is a specialized ultrasound that can help to evaluate blood flow in your veins. This test uses ultrasound waves to measure the speed and direction of blood flow in your veins. This can help your healthcare provider to identify any problems with your blood flow.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

In some cases, an MRI may be used to diagnose Chronic Venous Insufficiency. An MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the tissues in your body. This test can help your healthcare provider to identify any abnormalities in your veins or nearby tissues.


A venogram is a method of diagnosing chronic venous insufficiency that utilizes contrast dye to visualize the blood vessels in an X-ray. The contrast dye causes the veins to appear opaque on the X-ray image. This gives physicians a good view of the blood vessels and allows them to assess the size and condition of the veins. A venogram test is also very accurate at diagnosing deep vein thrombosis. Additional examinations to diagnose venous insufficiency may include CT scans, MRI scans and blood tests.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency Treatment

Surgical Treatments 

If a patient’s condition does not respond to other medications or therapies, they may require surgery. It is usually a last resort because the surgical options are invasive. The surgeon may remove the damaged vein or surgically repair it. Some other applicable surgical procedures include a deep vein bypass or endovenous laser treatment. Doctors will use a vein bypass in severe cases, to transplant a healthy vein to replace a damaged one. In laser treatment, the surgeon inserts a catheter into the leg to reach the damaged vein and then inserts a laser fiber. The laser heats the vein, shrinking and collapsing it. Then the body is able to redirect the blood into other veins after it absorbs the damaged shrunken vein.

Nonsurgical Treatments


This treatment introduces a solution directly into the damaged vein using a needle, making it collapse so the body can absorb it. This procedure requires multiple sessions, but it helps eliminate pain and prevent possible complications.

Endovenous Thermal Ablation

This is the most common treatment, using a laser or high-frequency radio waves to generate extreme heat in the affected vein. This closes off the damaged vein, but it still remains in place so there is less bruising and bleeding. Endovenous thermal ablation is less painful compared to other forms of treatment.

Compression Therapy

Compression therapy is a widely accepted treatment option for CVI. It is a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment that involves wearing compression stockings or sleeves over the affected leg. These stockings are designed to apply pressure to the leg, compressing the veins and improving the flow of blood to the heart. The pressure from the stockings or sleeves also helps to reduce the swelling associated with CVI.

Lifestyle Changes

After treatment—surgical or nonsurgical—a doctor may recommend several lifestyle factors that may stop the symptoms from returning. For example, patients should exercise to stimulate the leg muscles and enhance blood circulation. Stretching, walking, riding a stationary bike or jogging are all good ways to tone the leg muscles and stimulate blood flow to the heart. Similarly, patients may want to avoid sitting or standing in one position for too long. Move around as often as possible to stimulate blood circulation.

Since obesity is a risk factor for chronic venous insufficiency, it’s also important to maintain a healthy body weight. Healthy eating and activity habits can help with weight loss that may take excess pressure off of the veins.

A doctor may also prescribe compression garments to help treat chronic venous insufficiency and prevent recurring symptoms. Compression socks or stockings have flexible fabric that put pressure on different parts of the leg to help blood flow properly.

It is also a good idea to keep the skin moisturized and healthy. Moisturize the legs to make sure the skin doesn’t become dry or flaky. Use topical ointments and exfoliate to get rid of dead skin.

What Doctor Treats Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

When it comes to managing CVI, the first doctor you should see is a primary care physician. These physicians are trained to diagnose and treat various medical conditions, including CVI. They will generally perform a physical exam, listen to your symptoms, and order any necessary tests to determine the exact cause of your symptoms. If you have been experiencing any leg pain, swelling, or varicose veins, make sure to mention these symptoms during your appointment.

Once your primary care physician has diagnosed you with CVI, they may refer you to a specialist known as a phlebologist. A phlebologist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vein-related disorders, including CVI, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis. These specialists have training in vascular medicine and can offer a range of treatment options, including compression stockings, lifestyle modifications, and in some cases, surgery.

Even so, another type of doctor that may treat CVI is a vascular surgeon. Vascular surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the blood vessels, including veins and arteries. They may perform procedures such as vein stripping, which involves removing damaged veins from the legs, or sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution into the affected veins to close them off.

Can Chronic Venous Insufficiency be Reversed?

Unfortunately, once CVI has developed, it cannot be reversed completely. However, with proper treatment, you can manage the symptoms and prevent the disease from worsening. Compression therapy is the most effective treatment for CVI. It involves wearing special stockings that compress the legs, thereby improving blood flow. Exercise and weight management are also essential in managing CVI symptoms, be that as it may.

Supplements for Chronic Venous Insufficiency

While there are many treatment options for CVI, supplements offer a natural and effective way to manage and treat the symptoms of CVI. Being that, please consult with a physician before beginning any new supplements plan.

Horse Chestnut

Native to the Balkan Peninsula in southeast Europe, horse chestnut may be useful in treating chronic venous insufficiency. According to studies, it helps contract major veins in the legs to promote healthy circulation and improve blood pressure flow. Research suggests that it may be an effective short-term treatment. As a dietary supplement, take 300 mg of horse chestnut powder extract twice a day. Consult a doctor before using this supplement.


Hesperidin is a bioflavonoid extracted from citrus fruits, mostly lemons and oranges. It helps blood vessels function properly by supporting their thin walls. According to studies, bioflavonoids may effectively help treat disorders that cause blood clots. Studies suggest that hesperidin may also improve chronic venous insufficiency specifically. As a dietary supplement, take 500 mg (about ¼ tsp) of hesperidin powder one to two times daily with food and water after consulting a physician.


Diosmin is a bioflavonoid found in citrus fruits and is often used for the treatment of CVI and other circulatory conditions. This supplement has been shown to improve venous tone and circulation, reduce swelling, and alleviate leg pain and heaviness. Diosmin works by inhibiting the breakdown of blood vessels and increasing the production of collagen, which strengthens the vein walls and valves. The recommended dosage of diosmin for CVI is 500-1000 mg per day.


Related to the blueberry and cranberry, bilberries are a natural remedy dating back to the Middle Ages. Bilberry contains chemical called anthocyanins. Studies suggest that it may help reduce CVI symptoms and improve pain, swelling and bruising. As a dietary supplement, take 400 mg (about ¼ tsp) of bilberry extract powder once or twice a day with food, or following a physician’s directions.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to improve venous circulation, reduce inflammation, and alleviate leg pain and swelling. This vitamin works by improving the function of the endothelial cells in the veins and increasing blood flow. The recommended dosage of vitamin E for CVI is 400-800 IU per day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another antioxidant that plays an important role in the health of the circulatory system. This vitamin has been shown to improve the elasticity and strength of the veins and reduce inflammation. Vitamin C works by increasing the production of collagen, which is essential for maintaining healthy veins and blood vessels. The recommended dosage of vitamin C for CVI is 1000-2000 mg per day.


Zinc is a mineral that is essential for the health of the veins and the circulatory system. This mineral has been shown to improve the strength and elasticity of the veins and reduce inflammation. Zinc works by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, which are essential for maintaining the integrity of the vein walls and valves. The recommended dosage of zinc for CVI is 30-50 mg per day.

The Bottom Line

Chronic venous insufficiency is a common condition that affects many people. While there are many treatment options available, as shown above supplements offer a natural and effective way to manage and treat the symptoms of CVI. The most effective herbal supplements, vitamins, and minerals for CVI include Diosmin, Horse Chestnut, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Zinc. These supplements work by improving venous tone and circulation, reducing inflammation and swelling, and alleviating leg pain and heaviness. Consider incorporating these supplements into your daily routine to improve your overall health and quality of life, and another key point is to always consult your healthcare professional before starting any new supplements.

If you suffer from Chronic Venous Insufficiency, there are various treatment options available to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Compression therapy, Endovenous Laser Ablation, Sclerotherapy, lifestyle changes, and surgery all provide effective ways to alleviate pain, swelling, and other symptoms. It’s important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional to determine which treatment is right for you. With the right treatment plan, you can manage and overcome CVI, and enjoy a healthier, more comfortable life.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

Author: BulkSupplements Staff