The veins in the lower limbs have the job of returning blood to the heart. Inside these veins, there are small valves that normally force blood back up towards the heart.
When these valves become insufficient for the task, blood does not circulate causing the veins to dilate, and making them visible and sinuous.
At the beginning of the disease the most common complaints are a feeling of tiredness, weight and pain in the legs, itching, oedema (swelling) of feet and ankles, numbness and cramps. These complaints tend to be aggravated by long periods of standing but improve overnight, worsening over time and with age. If untreated, ulcers which are difficult to treat can result. In severe cases, work and daily life becomes more and more difficult.