What are spider veins?

Spider veins are small, thread-like veins that vary in color and can be seen under the surface of the skin.

They are named for their spider web-like appearance, and are known to be an unsightly nuisance to those who have them. Spider veins just under the skin’s surface can indicate an underlying disease that may eventually require treatment.

Men and women of all ages develop spider veins. They are usually hereditary, but if you become pregnant or have a job or lifestyle that requires you to be on your feet, you may be more susceptible to developing them over time.

Causes of spider veins

Spider veins are caused by unhealthy valves inside feeder veins, which allow blood to flow backwards instead of upwards toward the heart.

Healthy skin

Skin with spider veins

Common symptoms

  • Thread-like veins that vary in color
  • Usually appear in the legs, but can also occur in the chest, face or hands
  • Discomfort of affected area
  • Leg heaviness
  • Numbness
  • Cramping
  • Swelling
  • Aching
  • Restless leg syndrome

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