Enlarged veins that are usually found on the legs, although they can be found in other places, can be dark purple, blue or flesh-colored. These veins may have an appearance of twisted, bulging cords raised on the leg. The most common places on the legs for varicose veins to be found are the backs of the calves or on the inside of a leg.
Red or blue veins that appear to look like varicose veins, but are smaller are called spider veins. Spider veins are also closer to the surface of the skin than you would find varicose veins. Sometimes spider veins can be found on the face.
Some symptoms of varicose veins include: legs that tire easily, heaviness in legs, skin darkening, numbness in legs, leg swelling, and irritated, itchy legs, and of course, seeing the above mentioned veins.
Spider veins tend to remain the same, but varicose veins will most likely enlarge with time, and cause blood clots, infections, skin ulcers, sores and rashes.
Getting varicose and spider veins can be prevented somewhat by taking certain precautions. It is important that you exercise regularly, as this gets your circulation running smoothly and helping with leg strength. Legs should not be crossed while sitting. Elevate your legs while sitting. Try to cut salt out of your diet and introduce more foods containing fiber. Salt is known to cause swelling and cause water retention. Try wearing support stockings and avoid tight clothing that restricts.
However, with any condition that you feel you may have, it is best to go to your doctor to make sure that what you think is varicose or spider veins really is. Then your doctor can customize the best treatment plan for you at that time. A typical doctor’s visit for this type of condition may include a regular physical exam, X-rays or pictures of the vein done via ultrasound.
Your doctor may recommend one of the following treatment options to you.
- Ambulatory Phlebectomy involves marking the location of the vein with a special light source. The vein is pulled out of the leg by making tiny cuts and inserting surgical hooks.
- Endoscopic vein surgery involves removing the veins by small cuts. A small video is used to see inside the vein.
- Laser surgery involves sending bursts of light into the vein to be treated. While this type of treatment avoids needles and incisions, it can still be quite painful. Cooling is usually done to help with the pain from the laser. Some bruising may occur.
- Sclerotherapy which involves an injection of a solution into the vein. The vein walls then swell and stick together, and then seal shut. The vein will turn to scar tissue, since the vein’s blood flow has been stopped.
- Surgical Litigation and Stripping involves tying the vein shut and then removing it from the leg. General anesthesia is usually administered in either an operating room or outpatient basis.