Veins are part of the circulatory system. Blood is pumped by the heart through the arteries under high pressure and then returned back to the heart through veins under low pressure.
Because the blood is under low pressure in the veins, gravity has a significant impact on the blood returning back to the heart from the legs. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from moving away from the heart and pooling in the feet.
In the legs, there are deep and superficial veins. The majority of the blood returns through deep veins that are in the muscles. When the muscles contract, the veins gets squeezed and the one-way valves force the blood back to the heart.
When these valves wear out, blood can pool in the feet and lower legs leading to increased venous pressure, which eventually can cause swelling in the legs, and can cause the veins to dilate.
The Vein Program at the University of Arizona treats varicose veins, venous ulcers and other related conditions using non-invasive procedures when possible.
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