Veins carry blood back to the heart, whereas arteries carry blood from the heart. Venous stasis occurs when normal blood flow from the legs back to the heart is restricted. Improper vein function can result from superficial phlebitis, where superficial vein blood clots develop as a result of injury, or deep venous thrombosis, where blood clots form in the deep veins of the leg.
Venous stasis can cause pain, cramping, and swelling (edema) in the legs and ankles, as well as legs that feel tired, achy, throbbing, itchy, and/ or tight. The skin may thicken and darken, and ulcers may develop on the lower legs as a result of the blood pooling there. With varicose veins, the veins become enlarged and visible through the skin, taking on a ropy, bumpy appearance.
Treatment for venous stasis can include resting and elevating the legs, wearing compression stockings, and exercising to improve circulation. In some cases, doctors will prescribe medications or perform surgery on the veins (never take any medication without first consulting a doctor).