Varicose (often mispelled as “vericose”) and Spider Veins are a very common problem. It is estimated that 50 percent of the adult population suffers from some degree of vein disorder and disease. Many people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons, but they can also cause tired, achy, heavy, and swollen legs; produce a burning, throbbing, or itching sensation; and cause muscle cramps and a general restlessness in the legs. Over time, more serious complications may result.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins can appear either bulging or rope-like, or small and thread-like (often called “spider veins”). The veins in your body work to circulate blood from your extremities to your heart and back out again.
Like a water pump, they use one way valves and muscle contractions to push the blood against gravity. At times, the vein wall becomes weak and/or the valves stop working correctly. This results in blood filling the vein, preventing normal flow. This causes the veins to distend and bulge.
The main cause of varicose veins is heredity. Many patients who have this condition have a history of it in the family. Other causes include pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, prolonged standing or sitting, obesity, and increasing age.
Small Dark Blue Veins or “Spider Veins”
Spider veins are especially common and bothersome to women from a cosmetic point of view. They are dark blue little veins that run up and down the legs resembling lines on a road map. They can fan out along the outside of the thigh or inside the lower leg, around the ankles or behind the knees. Sometimes they are grouped in little starburst patterns. Luckily, spider veins are among the easiest to eliminate.
Deep Dark Veins or “Reticular Veins”
Reticular veins are deeper, darker veins that form bluish networks across the thighs and lower legs. While spiders are often harmless, the reticulars are usually the source of the spiders and the reticulars can cause pain. Treating failing reticulars can prevent new spiders from developing.
Twisted Rope Veins or “Varicosities”
Varicosities are those large varicose veins resembling ropes that twist up and down the course of the leg or behind the knee. These types of varicose veins often bulge out and become the most unsightly, and often most painful. They can be prone to blood clots and other long-term complications