Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, and enlarged veins that you can see under the skin. They are often red, purple or blue in color. They most often appear in the legs, but can occur in other parts of the body. While they are mostly benign – they can cause other associated problems, along with pain, tiredness and a heavy feeling in the legs making it uncomfortable and in some cases, hard to do certain jobs.
Where Do They Come From
Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can recirculate. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity.
Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.
Normally, the one-way valves in your leg veins keep blood moving up toward the heart. When the valves do not work properly, they allow blood to back up into the vein. The vein swells from the blood that collects there, which causes varicose veins.
- Prolonged Standing or Sitting
- Family History
- Being a Female
- History of Blood Clots
- Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
- Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
- Itching around one or more of your veins
- Bleeding from varicose veins
- A painful cord in the vein with red discoloration of the skin
- Color changes, hardening of the vein, inflammation of the skin or skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention
What Is The Difference Between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
Varicose veins are characterized by a “rope like” appearance. They are often confused with smaller “spider veins” that are more superficial and usually are only bothersome because of their undesirable cosmetic appearance. Treatment for spider veins is generally not covered by insurance, but they are easily treated with a simple procedure called “Sclerotherapy”. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a very small amount of harmless solution into the vein. You can see the vein fade away as the solution is injected. Some veins may take more than one treatment.