Venous Reflux/Insufficiency

Each vein has small unidirectional valves that regulate the flow of blood in the right direction (towards the heart). When the calf muscles contracts, the valves in the vein open, allowing blood to flow in an upward direction. When the muscles relax, gravity will cause the blood to fall back toward the feet, but the valves quickly close to stop blood from flowing away from the heart.

The graphic below shows what happens when the valves do not close properly.


Venous reflux, also known as venous insufficiency or venous incompetence, occurs when there is malfunctioning of these valves. The valves may become “leaky” and allow blood to flow in the wrong direction. Venous reflux may cause the blood to pool in the leg, as it is not effectively returned to the heart. Venous reflux results in progressive dilatation and tortuosity of the veins, leading to formation of “Varicose Veins”.

Symptoms of untreated venous reflux include:

  • Tired legs

  • Heavy legs

  • Restless legs

  • Aching and itchy legs

  • Pain and cramps

Signs of untreated venous reflux include:

  • Leg swelling and odema

  • Inflammation in the veins and surrounding skin

  • Venous eczema

  • Skin discoloration and thickening (Lipodermatosclerosis)

  • Skin ulceration

  • Venous thrombosis

  • Spontaneous bleeding

At the vein clinic we specialise in treating venous reflux using the latest non-surgical methods to gently abolish venous reflux (the underlying cause of varicose veins).

We focus on recommending the treatments that will give you the best results, but also the fastest and most pain free return to your normal activities following treatment.

It is only by having a thorough ultrasound and clinical assessment that we can recommend which of the treatments below will be best suited for your particular vein problem.


Click on the links below to find out more about the treatments we offer.

If you’re still not sure which treatment is for you, click here to request an appointment.

  • University of Melbourne