Thousands of miles of veins stretch from head to toe and work to return oxygen-poor blood to the heart. Superficial veins sit near the surface of the skin, directing blood to deep veins that eventually funnel it back to the heart through the body’s largest vein: the vena cava. Valves in the veins ensure your blood moves one way toward the heart. The squeezing action of muscle contractions in the arms and legs acts like a pump and helps open the valves to allow blood to pass through the veins. Relaxing the muscles in these limbs closes the valves and prevents blood from going backwards and “pooling” in the veins.
The journey from the legs to the heart is a long and frequently upward one due to gravity. Undue pressure caused by long periods of standing or sitting can take its toll on veins, distending and ultimately weakening them. Leaky valves allow blood to pool in the veins. The lower body (from the pelvis to the legs and feet) is the most common location of venous conditions, including:
At NorthShore, our vascular experts have considerable expertise and the specific training and knowledge to assist patients with venous conditions. We provide comprehensive screening, diagnosis, medical management and nonsurgical or minimally-invasive therapies. Our team has access to the latest procedures and innovative technologies.