The leg’s venous network
Deep veins account for 85 to 90% of venous return but are rarely the subject of venous insufficiency. These are the superficial veins that are most often affected. In the superficial network, two main veins are located in the leg:
The small saphenous vein starts on the back of the foot and is located on the posterior side of the leg. Receiving numerous ramifications from the foot and the back of the leg, it runs along the Achilles tendon before throwing itself into a deep vein, the popliteal vein situated in the hollow of the knee;
The great saphenous vein is located on the inner side of the leg. From the inner arch, it ascends along the leg to the thigh where it unites with the femoral vein.
These two veins have numerous valves that allow the blood to be chased to the heart and lungs, where it "recharges" into oxygen. Getting the right varicose veins treatments is a must.
A second heart in the calves
Between the feet and the heart, the average distance is over 4 feet! What are the mechanisms by which veins can combat gravity? When people walk, the vessels under their feet are compressed and propel the blood upwards. This phenomenon, called plantar hunting, is then relayed by the calves which, by contracting, allow the blood to continue its ascent. This primordial role is such that doctors sometimes call this the body’s "second heart". But all these efforts are useful only if the blood does not go down inexorably under the effect of gravity. To prevent this, the veins are equipped with non-return valves. Arranged every two to five centimeters, these valves can experience failures, otherwise known as venous insufficiency. When a person is diagnosed with venous insufficiency, the doctor may advise the patient undergo varicose veins treatments immediately.
Sometimes the valves deteriorate and do not close when blood passes by. The latter flows slowly and stagnates, causing venous stasis. The symptoms of venous insufficiency are clear: heavy legs, pain, itching, cramps, swollen legs, etc. For more information about varicose veins treatments, click here.