Arteries transport blood pumped from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins carry blood from the tissues back to the heart. Veins are thin walled tubes and rely on the surrounding muscles to contract and squeeze the veins. This squeezing forces the blood up toward the heart because of a series of one way valves. If these valves do not work (incompetence) then the blood runs backward (reflux). This causes pooling of the blood in the veins close to the skin and the bulging, tortuous varicose veins.

There are two types of veins in the leg: the deep system and the superficial system. The superficial veins are smaller and are just under the skin. These drain into the deep system through one major vein- the greater saphenous vein. This vein runs from the groin, down your inner thigh and all the way to your ankle. The failure of the greater saphenous' valves is a major cause of varicose veins. This means that the varicose veins on the lower thigh, around the knee and in the calf are usually caused by a failure of the valves much higher up.
Unless these hidden veins are treated, it is difficult if not impossible to achieve the desired results.

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