What are spider veins?
Spider veins are red and purple blood vessels that occur in patches on the legs and face. Spider veins and varicose veins are not the same and one does not necessarily lead to the other. Whereas, varicose veins are large, swollen, and occur singularly on the legs, spider veins are delicate and tend to develop in clusters. Both spider veins and reticular, or “feeder” veins deeper in the skin may cause discomfort.
Spider veins usually do not pose a health threat. Although, they can cause aching and discomfort, spider veins are primarily a cosmetic problem. Spider veins usually take on one of three basic patterns:
- Tiny branch like shape
(common on inner knee)
- True spider shape
- Sunburst pattern
(common on outer thigh)
Can spider veins cause pain?
Spider veins usually do not cause symptoms, however, symptoms which may be associated with spider veins can include:
- Dull, generalized aching
- Throbbing pain
- Burning tingling
- Complaints may worsen with menstruation and warmer weather
Relief of these symptoms may come with walking or elevating the legs.
What factors contribute to spider veins?
The most significant factors are:
- Occupations that involve prolonged standing
- Hormonal influences during pregnancy
- Use of oral contraceptives
- Post-menopausal hormone replacement
- Prolonged sitting with legs crossed
- History of blood clots
Other minor factors include topical steroids, trauma or injury to the skin, and exposure to ultraviolet rays.
- What is the treatment for spider veins?
- VIDEO: Laser Therapy Treatment for Spider Veins at Wisconsin Vein Center & MediSpa
- VIDEO: Spider veins on your legs?
Women develop spider veins 4 times more frequently than men. In fact, about 70 percent of adult women are afflicted with spider veins at some time in their lives.
PLEASE NOTE: Spider vein treatment is considered a cosmetic procedure by Medicare and most insurance companies, and therefore is not a “covered benefit”.