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Vein Valves – What Do They Do?

Healthy functioning valves are vital to the proper flow of blood in the veins. But what exactly are valves, what do they do and what do they look like?

If you have any vein condition such as varicose veins, spider veins, phlebitis, varicose eczema or leg ulcers, you need to know the answers and I will give you all the information you need.

Venous valves are delicate folds in the lining of the vein that direct blood in the correct direction. In the legs, this means that they open and close to keep blood flowing from the feet, up the leg and back to the heart. As you go about your daily activities, the muscles of the leg contract squeezing the veins and pushing blood up the leg. The valves open. When you stand still or when you get out of bed first thing in the morning, gravity tries to pull downwards. The valves shut, preventing down flow in the wrong direction.

So during the course of the day, the muscles of your leg contract and relax, the valves open and close and the blood in the leg veins travels upwards. If the valves do not meet correctly, when you get up first thing in the morning and get out of bed, blood flows downwards a condition called superficial vein reflux.

In the video, you can see the valves as they appear on a duplex ultrasound scan. I perform the scan with my patients standing up and I simulate leg muscle contractions by gently squeezing the patient’s leg with my hands. You can see the valves moving as I squeeze the leg.

Now, if you’re worried about your veins and would like a confidential chat please do get in touch. Our advisors are very happy to offer simple advice by telephone or email for free and without obligation. You can call and book an appointment direct without a referral from your GP on 01935 873951.