At the 1992 Summer Olympics, swimming legend Summer Sanders won two gold medals, one silver and a bronze for the U.S. swim team. Years later, after the birth of her second child, this healthy, active athlete developed varicose veins- a precursor to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Fast-forward to 2012. Sanders has had her veins successfully treated and her legs no longer feel “achy and heavy, especially after a long day.” She is now the national spokesperson for Rethink Varicose Veins, an educational campaign that encourages those suffering from varicose veins to learn more about their condition and to speak with a vein specialists about treatment options.
The campaign started as a joint effort of the American College of Phlebology (ACP), Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and American Venous Forum (AVF). This year, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) joined the coalition. In fact, Sanders helped open the 2013 APMA Annual Scientific Meeting in July. Dr. Joseph Caporusso, SPM and immediate past president of APMA, found Sanders’ story to be “enlightening, and even inspirational.”
“Podiatrists play a role in keeping America walking, and venous disease is a common component of that,” he said. For Dr. Caporusso, the venous-related conditions he encounters most often are varicose veins, which affect the feet and ankles, and ulcerations, usually on the inside ankle toward the midline of the body. He says that podiatrists also have patients with unexplained calf pain; they must determine whether the patients has Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which could be life threatening.
More than 30 million Americans suffer from vein disease each year, but less than 10% seek treatment. Efforts like Rethink Varicose Veins can go far in educating the public that venous disease is a health concern worthy of diagnosis and treatment, especially when different medical professionals take a team approach toward patient care. “Many of our colleagues work with vein specialists and vascular surgeons, and our partnership with this campaign allows us to go even further,” said Dr. Caporusso.
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