There are tortuous and dilated veins which can be seen or felt beneath the skin of the leg. Their cause is not known. It is true to say they are associated with pregnancy, standing occupations and that the condition runs in families. The commonest cause is said to be an inherited weakness in the veins themselves. The pressure from gravity is relentless and weaker veins eventually give way. Once veins are stretched the valves no longer meet in the middle and become incompetent. This is termed reflux and results in an impairment of the drainage of the leg.