An international task force made up of a panel of 16 experts was mandated to review and objectively evaluate all aspects of chronic venous disease of the leg. All available publications on chronic venous disease of the leg from 1983 to 1997 were identified through computerized search. Three different screenings were then performed in order to select only relevant papers providing moderate to strong scientific evidence. Final conclusions and further therapeutic recommendations were made based on these publications. Compression, medications, local therapies, sclerotherapy and surgery are the existing therapeutic options for which the following recommendations can be made. Compression: Properly applied bandages both fixed and stretched have been shown to be effective. Compression stockings may be used. Compression needs to be in excess of 35 mm Hg. Medications: Although preliminary results have shown a beneficial effect of several vasodilators and oral micronized purified flavonoid fraction, the evidence for the efficacy of medications on venous ulcer healing is still limited and further studies are required before recommendations can be made. There is no evidence to routinely administer antibiotics. Local therapies have an as yet unproven adjunctive role. Sclerotherapy is unlikely to be effective unless there is superficial venous insufficiency, in which it may have an as yet unproven role. Surgery: Patients with active venous ulcer and sapheno-femoral or sapheno-popliteal junction incompetence benefit from surgical treatment. In the absence of reflux or following deep vein thrombosis, there is no evidence to support surgical treatment.