What is Venous Oedema?
Venous oedema, which is sometimes confused with
lymphoedema, is a swelling of the legs caused by a malfunction
or obstruction of veins, not lymphatic vessels. It is a common
chronic condition, particularly in those of advancing years. It is
characterised by lower leg oedema, heaviness, tightness, aching
and discomfort, all of which are relieved, to some extent, by
elevation. This oedema is called venous oedema.
With increasing age and other factors such as being overweight,
chronic heart failure, hypertension, pregnancy, deep vein
thrombosis or an excessive amount of standing, great strain is
placed on the leg veins by the resultant high gravitational forces
causing them to dilate. This results in "pooling" of blood in the
calves. As the condition progresses, the lymphatic drainage from
the legs becomes overloaded and the condition of the skin
deteriorates. It becomes pigmented, dry, fragile, easily breaking
down and becoming infected, leading to ulceration.
What is the Treatment of Venous Oedema?
Vascular surgery does not always provide long term relief for
venous oedema. However, compression therapy has been shown
to be effective in improving venous and lymphatic drainage from
lower limbs, as well as keeping oedema under control.
Mild to moderate oedema is treated by fitting low to medium
compression calf stockings or socks.
Moderate to severe oedema may require multi-layer bandaging
for a few days to reduce the oedema before fitting stockings or
Adelaide Lymphoedema Clinic
29 Warwick St Walkerville SA 5081
T: 08 8342 9712
F: 08 8342 9711