Peripheral venous disease (PVD) involves any vessel outside of the heart and usually affects the legs and feet. PVD is characterized by a narrowing of the vessels that carry blood to the leg and arm muscles. The most common cause is the build-up of plaque inside the artery wall (atherosclerosis). Blood clots can also cause PVD. There are two types of clots that can form: a superficial vein thrombosis and a deep vein thrombosis. In addition, the veins can be damaged by bodily injury, major surgery or inactivity.
Other factors increasing the risk for PVD include: smoking, obesity, pregnancy, and the use of birth control pills.