Chronic Venous Insufficiency: What Is It and What Can Be Done?

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition where your veins are unable to bring blood back to your heart. This causes blood to flow backwards, pooling into the legs resulting in swelling. If left untreated, it could cause a leg ulcer. Learn the signs, prevention, and treatment of chronic venous insufficiency.


Signs: Detecting CVI

While swelling in the legs or ankles is a common symptom for multiple conditions, it is also one of the most common signs of CVI. Other symptoms of CVI may include a tight, restless feeling in your legs and pain when walking that stops when you are at rest. You may also notice skin near the ankles browning. If you suspect you have CVI, contact your doctor immediately for an official diagnosis.


Prevention: Improve Blood Flow in the Legs

Maintaining healthy blood flow in the legs is paramount in order to prevent CVI. Those who remain sitting or standing for long periods of time are most at risk.  

Exercise is a great way to get your blood pumping. If you are unable to be active for long periods of time, try compression stockings or elevating your legs to improve blood flow and reduce swelling. This means lying down with your legs above your heart, either by propping them up on a pillow or raised. 


Depending on the severity, chronic venous insufficiency may require ligation, laser ablation or injections. These procedures involve surgical repair of the affected veins, allowing the patient to return to normal activity after a short recovery. Talk to a provider to find out if surgery is an option for you.

Chronic Venous Insufficiency is a serious, but treatable condition. You can learn more about CVI, or talk to us to discover what treatment plan is best for you.