What are Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
Varicose and spider veins are signs of a problem called superficial venous reflux. This occurs when veins near the skin on the leg develop malfunctioning valves. The defective valves create poor circulation in the veins, allowing blood to backflow and pool, bulging and deforming the veins. The result is either a spiderweb of blue lines under the skin (spider veins), or twisted and protruding knots (varicose veins).
For most, the appearance of varicose veins or brightly colored spider veins raises only a cosmetic concern. But in some cases, the underlying cause of poor vein circulation can create additional complications. Here are some of the potential symptoms:
- The appearance of red, blue, or purple veins underneath the skin
- The appearance of twisted, bulging, hard, or otherwise misshapen veins
- An ache or heavy feeling in the legs
- Sensations of throbbing, cramping, burning, or swelling in the legs
- Itching around the veins
In severe cases, the following symptoms can develop:
- Pain and discoloration of the skin in the affected area
- Bleeding from affected veins
- Hardening of the vein
- Skin ulcers, which can lead to infection