The Difference Between Varicose Veins & Spider Veins

Many patients often ask what the difference between varicose veins and spider veins is. While both are common types of vein disease, they differ greatly in symptoms and treatment.

It’s important to understand the difference between varicose and spider veins when seeking treatment.

What Are Varicose Veins?

The term ‘varicose’ comes from the Greek word for ‘grape-like’. Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, and twisting veins that are clearly visible just under the surface of the skin, often appearing blue or dark purple.

For many people, varicose veins are simply a cosmetic imperfection that causes them to be self-conscious about the appearance of the affected body part. However, for some people, they can cause pain, blood clots, or sores.

Any vein in your body can become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. This is because standing and walking increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.

The veins can first appear as thin greenish streaks and increase in size and in some cases reach a few centimeters in diameter. Up to 50% of patients may have some signs and symptoms of pulling feeling, pain, itchiness, swelling at the ankles, eczema, spider veins next to the big varicose veins and/or change in color around the veins.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are like varicose veins, but smaller because they are flooded capillaries. They are also closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. Often red or blue, they can look like tree branches or spiderwebs with short, jagged lines. They can be found on the legs and face and can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.

Spider veins are highly common. To show just how common spider veins are, a group of researchers looked at 1,566 people and found that 84 percent had spider veins on their right legs alone. While they don't often cause medical problems, they can be eliminated for medical or cosmetic reasons.

Elmore Medical Vein & Laser Treatment Center is the premier vein specialty medical practice in the Central Valley. Dr. Mario H. Gonzalez and his staff offer years of experience and medical expertise that you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us today to set up a consultation appointment.

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