Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That’s because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.
For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems.
Symptoms without pain
- Dark purple or blue in color veins
- Veins that appear twisted and bulging
Painful signs and symptoms
- Achy or heavy feeling in your legs
- Pain in legs after standing or sitting for a long time
- Burning, muscle cramping, throbbing, and swelling in your lower legs
- Bleeding from varicose veins
- Itching around (one or more of your veins)
- Red discoloration of the skin with a painful cord in the vein
- Hardening of the vein, color changes, inflammation of the skin or skin ulcers near your ankle. This symptom requires medical attention as it could mean a serious form of vascular disease.
- Gender – Women are more likely to develop the condition than men
- Family history
- Long periods of standing or sitting
There’s no way to completely prevent varicose veins. But improving your circulation and muscle tone can reduce your risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones.
- Watching your weight
- Eating a high-fiber, low-salt diet
- Avoiding high heels and tight hosiery
- Elevating your legs
- Changing your sitting or standing position regularly
When to see a doctor