Understanding Spider and Varicose Veins

What are the symptoms?

Spider veins or varicose veins may never be a problem. But sometimes they can cause legs to ache or swell. Your legs may also feel heavy and tired. Or they may feel like they’re burning. These symptoms may be more severe at the end of the day. Prolonged sitting or standing can also make your symptoms worse.

Who gets spider and varicose veins?

Anyone can get spider or varicose veins. But vein problems tend to be hereditary (run in families). Other factors that can affect veins include:

  • Pregnancy, hormones, and birth control pills

  • A job where you stand or sit a lot

  • Extra weight or lack of exercise

  • Age

Side view of leg showing spider veins.Side view of leg showing varicose veins.

Do you often hide your legs because of the way they look? You may have noticed tiny red or blue bursts (spider veins). Or maybe you have veins that bulge or look twisted (varicose veins). If so, there are treatments that can help.

What can be done?

Spider and varicose veins can affect the way you feel about yourself. Talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns. There are treatments that can ease symptoms and make your legs look better.

Your treatment choices

Treatment may include:

  • Self-care. Being physically active can help with blood flow in your legs. So, too, can losing weight, if needed, and wearing compression stockings.

  • Sclerotherapy. During this treatment, a chemical is injected into the veins. It can work for spider veins and some varicose veins.

  • Newer minimally invasive procedures or surgery (in rare cases). These treatments may be needed for large varicose veins.


Online Medical Reviewer: Anne Fetterman RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Deepak Sudheendra MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2022
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