Varicose Veins: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

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Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, and enlarged veins. Veins closer to the skin’s surface are likely to become varicose. It is most common in the leg. While some may find it a cosmetic issue, others face discomfort and pain. This can lead to serious problems like blood clots if left untreated by a healthcare professional. Treatment is generally done for removing or closing veins, administered by a doctor.

The difference between varicose veins and spider veins

Varicose and spider veins often get confused with each other, as both are types of venous disease. Although they look different, spider veins are smaller and thinner than varicose veins. The name spider veins are given due to their appearance being similar to spider webs. They are red or blue. Also, spider veins are commonly painful and appear behind the knee, feet, and even on the face. In comparison, varicose appears on the legs and feet. 

Symptoms of varicose veins

If the symptoms become unmanageable and more apparent, consider reaching out to a medical professional for help. 

Dark purple or blue veins

The most common sign of varicose veins is the veins turning dark purple or blue. They usually appear on the legs and feet, as standing and walking increase the pressure in the veins of the lower body.

Heavy legs

Heavy, tired, and sluggish legs are common symptoms of varicose veins.


Irritation or itching in the legs is also a sign of varicose veins. The itching mostly happens around the area of the infected veins.


If your veins are infected, you might feel pain and soreness in your legs. Muscle cramps can also occur. While these symptoms are uncommon, they can become unmanageable with time, and you might need to consult a doctor. 


Another symptom of varicose veins is swelling and throbbing in your legs, ankles, and feet. It can affect your mobility and cause tremendous discomfort. 

Skin discolorations 

If left untreated, varicose veins can cause brown discolorations on the skin. In severe cases, it can cause venous ulcers.

Treatment for varicose veins

While there is no cure for the disease, a healthcare professional can use various emerging treatments to reduce the symptoms and the appearance of varicose veins. 

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Elastic stockings

Elastic stockings can reduce discomfort, and supportive stockings or socks compress your veins. The compress prevents veins from stretching and improves blood flow.

Laser therapy

Doctors use a catheter (a long, thin tube) and laser to close off a damaged vein in a minimally invasive procedure known as endovenous thermal.

Injection therapy 

In another procedure, the doctor injects a solution into your vein, which causes vein walls to stick together, turning veins into scar tissue that fades away.

Vein surgery

This procedure is known as ligation and stripping. The doctor ties off the vein to stop blood from pooling and removes the vein to prevent the varicose veins from reappearing. 

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