Most people associate lymphedema with cancer but it can also occur due to untreated chronic venous insufficiency.
Untreated chronic venous insufficiency can lead to edema(phlebo-lympho-dynamic insufficiency )in lower extremities. Without appropriate intervention at this stage, if blood vessels and lymphatic capillaries have to keep working at their maximum capacity over an extended period, they suffer damage. The constant high pressure in the lymphatic system leads to the valves becoming inefficient. Also the walls of the veins become fibrotic. This causes damage so severe that results in accumulation of not only fluid but also proteins. This is called phlebo-lympho-static inefficiency.
Initially the lymphedema is smooth and pitting(when the indention remains after pressing) but it can progress to more fibrotic stage without proper intervention that is why early diagnosis and treatment are of utmost importance.
Diagnosis is usually based on good history and physical examination. Lower-extremity duplex ultrasound can be used to measure ankle-brachial index.
The intervention at this stage would be leg elevation, compression, and exercise. But the main treatment focuses on treating the underlying problem.