The effect of venous hypertension on the state of activation of leucocytes has been investigated in patients with venous disease and control subjects. Leucocytes become ‘trapped’ in the circulation of the leg during periods of venous hypertension produced by sitting or standing. This is greater in the limbs of patients with chronic venous disease than controls. Studies of the plasma levels of neutrophil granule enzymes show that these are increased during periods of venous hypertension, suggesting that this causes activation of the neutrophils. Investigation of the leucocyte surface ligand CD11b shows that the more activated neutrophils and monocytes are sequestered during venous hypertension. Measurement of plasma levels of the soluble parts of the vascular (VCAM), intercellular (ICAM) and endothelial leucocyte (ELAM) adhesion molecules show that these are all elevated in patients with chronic venous disease compared to controls. Following 30 min of venous hypertension produced by standing, these levels are further increased. These data suggest that venous hypertension causes neutrophil and monocyte activation, which in turn causes injury to the endothelium. I believe that this may be the mechanism that initiates the pathological processes which lead to venous ulceration. It has recently been shown that the venotonic drug Daflon 500 mg (450 mg diosmin, 50 mg hesperidin, Servier, France) influences these processes. Surface expression of CD62L is reduced in neutrophils and monocytes, and plasma levels of soluble endothelial adhesion molecules are reduced. These observations may explain the anti-inflammatory effects of Daflon 500 mg.