What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are swollen and enlarged blood vessels that visibly bulge from the surface of the skin. They are most common in the legs and feet and typically appear purple or blue in color. Varicose veins can be lumpy and might cluster up and appear tangled.
What causes varicose veins?
Veins feature a series of tiny valves that open and close to allow blood to flow to the heart and stop it from flowing backwards. But when these valves become weakened or damaged, the blood can begin to flow backwards and pool up in an area of the vein, causing it to swell and become visible to the eye.
Varicose veins typically happen in veins with weak or thin walls or valves. While some people develop varicose veins for no apparent reason, there are some things that can put you at an increased risk. These include:
- Being female
- Old age
- Being overweight
- Prolonged periods of standing
Is there pain or other symptoms associated with varicose veins?
Varicose veins are most often purely a cosmetic condition. However, varicose veins can sometimes bring pain, discomfort, or cramping. Additional symptoms may include:
- “Heavy” or uncomfortable legs
- Swollen feet or ankles
- Restless legs
- Dry, itchy, or discolored skin
- A burning or throbbing feeling
- Atrophie blanche, or white patches that resemble scars around the ankles
Symptoms are often worse in warmer weather, later in the day, or when you’ve been standing for an extended period of time. If left untreated, varicose veins have the potential to develop into more dangerous blood clots. Varicose veins also have the potential to rupture or cause ulcers on the skin in the affected area. And minor injuries to the affected area may also bleed longer than usual.
Are varicose veins the same as spider veins?
Many people use the terms “varicose veins” and “spider veins” interchangeably. But while very similar, these two conditions do have their differences.
Spider veins are much smaller and thinner and tend to be less visible from the surface than varicose veins. Spider veins typically appear as tiny red or blue lines that branch together in a web-like fashion (hence the name “spider veins”).
Spider veins generally do not carry the same symptoms as varicose veins and do not carry the risk of developing into more serious health conditions.
If you have visible varicose veins or spider veins, contact the team at Rosen Vein Care for a consultation to see how we can help with one of our effective treatment options.