THE VEIN AND VASCULAR INSTITUTE

Spider Veins

A Sign Of A Deeper Vascular Problem That Can Lead To Leg Pain and Eventually To Varicose Veins

Thirty percent of women will develop spider veins and the majority of them seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.

Spider veins are not a vein disease that should be ignored or taken lightly because they can be associated with more serious vein conditions such as underlying varicose veins or deep venous insufficiency.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are the thin, crooked veins that are just under the skin’s surface and can be red, blue or purple.

Typically they are seen around the ankles, on the calves, behind the knees, and on the thighs.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Our leg veins carry blood up to the heart, flowing against the downward force of gravity. Valves within our leg veins open and close, allowing the blood to flow in an upward direction. These valves close intermittently to stop the blood from flowing in a downward direction.

Our vein valves can eventually become weak and stop functioning the way they’re supposed to, causing blood to leak down and gather in the legs. This backup and accumulation of blood in the legs creates new, superficial veins just under the skin’s surface, and these are called spider veins.

Even though these small veins look like small insignificant veins under the skin, they are an indicator of a deeper vascular problem inside your leg veins.

Are Spider Veins Painful?

Spider veins can cause pain in the legs. Although this may be surprising, since they are so small. Painful veins are more common than people might think.

The symptoms of spider veins in legs include:

  • Aching legs;
  • Itchiness around the veins;
  • A feeling of heaviness in the legs;
  • Nighttime leg cramps (Restless Leg Syndrome).