Varicose and Spider Veins

Vein problems develop slowly over the years, often without being noticed.

Vein problems develop gradually, and many patients learn to increase their tolerance for the discomfort that vein problems can cause. In fact, many patients are not even aware of how much better they can feel until after they have received treatment.

If gone unchecked, vein problems have the potential for developing into a serious medical issue.

The two most common types of vein problems are varicose veins and spider veins.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are a very common problem, generally appearing as twisting, bulging rope-like cords on the legs, anywhere from groin to ankle. While many people have heard of varicose veins, very few truly understand their underlying cause, and the potential they have for developing into a serious medical issue.

What are the symptoms? Will they get worse?

In addition to the visual appearance, many patients may experience one or more of the following leg symptoms:

  • Pain (an aching or cramping feeling)
  • Heaviness/Tiredness
  • Burning or tingling sensations
  • Swelling/Throbbing
  • Tender areas around the veins

We know that obesity, pregnancy, age, and prolonged standing increase the chance of developing varicose veins.

If you experience symptoms and delay treatment, your symptoms may progress onward to more serious complications including: inflammation (phlebitis), ankle sores or skin ulcers.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are tiny red or purple dilated blood vessels that form when veins become enlarged and swollen with stagnant blood. They commonly occur on the legs, but are also found on the face or other areas of the body. Spider veins are smaller than most varicose veins, but are often darker and more noticeable. This is because these veins are located just below the surface of the skin.

What are the symptoms?

These dilated blood vessels may be short, unconnected lines, each about the size of a large hair, or connected in a “sunburst” pattern. They may look like a spider web or a tree with branches. Spider veins can occur in a small area where they are not very noticeable, or they can cover a large area of skin and be very unattractive.

Sometimes spider veins can cause pain, ranging from dull and throbbing to a burning sensation. The larger vessels are more likely to cause pain, however smaller blue veins sometimes also cause pain.