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What are varicose veins?

One-way valves normally allow blood to travel in the veins from the foot back to the heart without flowing back down in the other direction (‘refluxing’). If the valves stop working properly (become leaky or ‘incompetent’) blood pools in the surface leg veins which then swell up over time and become ‘varicose’.

Healthy Vein Valves & Correct Blood Flow

Damaged Vein Valve & Incorrect Blood Flow

Common places for these incompetent valves are in the groin, causing varicose veins on the inside of the thigh, and the lower leg or behind the knee, causing varicose veins at the back of the calf.

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